Teacher running so students can rideBY CHELSEA FULLER
The Dominion Post For Mark Thorne, a special education teacher at South Middle School, the work doesn’t end when the bell rings at 2:20 p.m. As the sponsor of the school’s bike club, Thorne has decided to run so that his students can ride. To raise funds for the bike club, Thorne started a pledge drive as he prepares to run in the West Virginia Trilogy, Oct. 12-14, at Spruce Knob in Seneca Rocks Recreation Area, he said. “The fundraiser is being done this way so that kids don’t have to go door-to-door and raise money for their club,” Thorne said. “I am going to run all three days of the trilogy, totaling 94.1 miles. I am asking for people to sponsor me, and all proceeds will go toward our bike club.”
The first day of the Trilogy is a 50-kilometer run, Thorne said. The second day is 50 miles and the final day winds down with a 13.1-mile run. “We cross over the highest point in the state right about daybreak. The fast runners finish the runs in the daylight, but I will finish with a headlamp on,” Thorne said with a laugh. There is no set pledge amount.
People are welcome to pledge cents-permile or single monetary donations, Thorne said. Pledges are due before Monday, but donations can also be made after the race. “All funds raised from the pledge drive will be used to purchase helmets, T-shirts and equipment needed to repair bikes,” Thorne said. “We have had several people even donate bikes.” The South Middle School Bike Club, now in its third year, meets every two weeks rain or shine, and has 42 student members, officials said. “We’ve grown in popularity. Several of the students don’t have the opportunity to do other extracurricular activities,” Thorne said.
Club member Shyan Weaver, 12, has used a wheelchair since she was a young child. The sixth-grader rides a custom-made bike with three wheels and a hand crank that propels the bike instead of pedals, she said. “Riding isn’t hard for me. The hills can be tough sometimes, but it’s not that big of a problem.” Weaver said being in the bike club has been a great experience for her. “I have only had one ride so far, but I am looking forward to the next one.” Bike club members are scheduled to take their next ride at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 4. They will ride from the school to Star City and back, Thorne said.
TO DONATE to the South Middle School Bike Club or to sponsor Mark Thorne in the West Virginia Trilogy, send money to South Middle School, Attention: Bike Club, 500 East Parkway, Morgantown, WV 26501.