Tour de Marco: 250-plus riders raise over $5,000

Jodi Pree

On Sunday morning, the streets of Marco turned into a sea of beautiful, brightly colored jerseys and bicycles during the YMCA's 7th Annual Tour de Marco. This year’s event boasted a record number of entries with over 250 participants ranging in ages from 3 to 86 years old.
Many riders expressed that Tour de Marco has inspired them to exercise, maintain a healthier lifestyle, and challenge themselves. Each rider had a special story to tell.
“I found the race on and thought it would be fun to do with my daughter. It’s our first time doing anything like this,” said Colette Roger of Matlacha.
“We are having fun cheering the riders on this morning,” explained an exuberant Diane Hoover. “Our husbands have been training for the 30-mile ride since December. We are out here to give a little extra encouragement to all the riders.”

First-time entrant, Mike O'Leary of Marco Island was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia in October 2015. He faces new obstacles and challenges daily, however, on his new 3-wheeled recumbent bike, he no longer feels disabled; in fact, you’d never know of his disability while he’s pedaling.

The streets of Marco Island turned into a sea of beautiful, brightly colored jerseys and bicycles during the YMCA’s Tour de Marco.

“Today is my birthday. I just turned 62. I thought I’d see if I could do it, all 30 miles,” said Mike O'Leary with a huge smile on his face. “I get my wheelchair on March 10. My new challenge will be playing wheelchair pickleball. I can’t wait!”

“I'm riding with my Sunshine Sisters Newcomers group,” said Allyson Richards of Marco Island. “We have been practicing the 15 miles on the weekends and are also gearing up for a bike tour of the Savannah area on April 1. Our husbands are even joining us today.”

“A lot of planning, 25 volunteers, generous sponsors, the Marco Island Police and Fire Department all helped make the 7th Annual Tour de Marco a success,” said Steve Reynolds, community relations director of the Greater Marco Family YMCA. “$5,000 was raised for the YMCA scholarship fund for families and children; which funds the YMCA pre-school, after-school, and summer school programs.”

Next year's Tour de Marco will be held on Sunday, Feb. 25.

At press time Monday, the total amount raised to $5,600.