WEIRTON - For the fifth year in a row, a trio of area residents will challenge themselves physically in an effort to assist those seeking a local Christian education.
For the last several years, a small group of individuals have ridden hundreds of miles on their bicycles along a series of recreational trails between Weirton and Washington, D.C. The goal is to raise money for the scholarship fund at Tri-State Christian Academy.
This year, the Rev. Marlin Hawley, administrator of Tri-State Christian Academy and pastor at Mercy Baptist Church, as well as supporters George Miller and Bruce Trushel, will once again hit the trail with the goal of riding 405 miles.
"This is the fifth one," Hawley said. "I have said after every one that I'll never do it again, yet here I am."
The first ride included a 400 miles trip, increasing the distance by an additional 100 miles each of the next two years. For the fourth ride, they decided to scale back to 400 miles, adding a mile for each year of the ride to follow.
The early stages of the ride will begin Sunday afternoon in Midway, Pa., and Hawley said anyone interested in riding the trail with them back to Weirton is welcome.
Following that ride, a prayer service will be held at 5 p.m. Sunday at the head of the Panhandle Recreational Trail just outside of Weirton.
The main ride will kick off officially Monday, with the three riding the trails through Friday. Herb Nolder and Tom Straight are returning to the fundraiser, driving the support vehicle, following the riders to provide supplies and assistance when needed.
Sponsorships and donations for the ride are being accepted through May 30, and Hawley explained those interested will be able to follow the ride through Facebook.
"We'll do an event page through the school," Hawley said. "We'll update it every day."
For more information, call Mercy Baptist Church at (304) 723-0700 or Tri-State Christian Academy at (724) 947-8722.
(Howell can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, and followed via Twitter @CHowellWDT)