The five bikers left Busch Stadium in St. Louis on June 19 and spent the rest of the week cruising the Katy Trail in Missouri for charity.
Within six days, they had biked 321 miles and raised over 8,000 dollars for Girls on the Run, a national non-profit program — for girls in 3rd through 8th grades —that brings girls together to learn valuable life lessons while training for a 5K run.
The bikers split into two fundraising teams: Rebecca Sommers, John Sommers and Tommy Short biked for Girls on the Run Kansas City, while David Pokorny and Tim O’Connor raised money for GOTR St. Louis.
Their last leg of the journey was on Friday: an 80-mile ride from Sedalia to Kauffman Stadium.
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“It took all the lessons we teach the girls: You’ve got to be brave, smart, strong,” Rebecca Sommers said. But when Pokorny ordered strawberry rhubarb pie at their last pit stop, “we knew we were going to make it,” Sommers said.
They took to a highway shoulder for the homestretch and rolled up to Kauffman Stadium on Friday afternoon — with just enough time to catch a ride to the hotel, clean up and walk on to the field as the stars of the pregame ceremonies.
It all came full circle at a Royals game — the same place it all started.
Pokorny is on the board of directors for GOTR St. Louis. Last August, he came to Kansas City for a Royals game.
“I had invited Lisa Pickard, who’s the director of Girls on the Run Kansas City, to share the tickets that I had,” Pokorny said, “and Rebecca, one of the women that got Girls on the Run in Kansas City started, was given a ticket.”
“I mentioned the idea to (Sommers), and she latched on to it,” he said.
The two exchanged emails, registered with the Missouri National Parks and set the dates.
It seemed intimidating, but that’s what makes things worth it, Sommers said. “The bigger the dream the better.”
Sommers and the rest of the founders of GOTR KC had big dreams when they started the program here. “We used to have to recruit girls to join,” Sommers said. “I remember standing outside schools,” Sommers said, “giving out popsicles.”
“Now we run ads at Royals games,” Lisa Pickard said, laughing. There are more than 4,000 girls involved in the GOTR KC program, and it’s offered in more than 200 schools and other sites in Kansas and Missouri, according to Pickard.
The program runs on donations and through the help of of volunteer coaches.
For more information about how to get involved, visit www.gotrkc.org.