A warmer-than-usual morning greeted bikers and runners in Saturday’s 25th annual Freeze Your Fanny fundraiser.
More than 400 participants ran and rode to raise money for East Texas Lightning, an organization that provides recreational and athletic events for residents with mental disabilities.
“That’s what this is about. It’s all about raising money for our team,” said Director B’Ann Boiles.
The event is the first weekend in February each year because organizers found that is typically the coldest weekend of the year in East Texas, Boiles said.
Boiles also said holding the event early in February allows bikers from around the region to attend the event because it is not in competition with other races.
Kyle Horsman of Big Sandy was the second bicyclist to complete a 10-mile path, even though he said’s been biking for about two months.
“I was dressed in layers, so this was a nice surprise,” Horsman said of the mild weather. “I am absolutely supportive of this cause.”
Another first-time participant, Nikki Seimears, was the first to return to Johnston-McQueen Elementary School, where the run and bicycle tour began and ended.
Seimears said she had biked in her hometown of White Oak for years, but decided this was the year to participate in the organized event.
The run featured 5K and 10K routes, while the bike tour featured 10K, 30K, 40K, 50K and metric century routes. Participants chose which route they wanted to follow.
Some participants, such as Chris Reed, participated in the running and bicycling events.
Reed ran the 10K run before racing in the bicycle tour with his son Matthew, 11.
“We came out last year, and now we decided to make it a father-son tradition,” Reed said. “It is a great time for a good cause.”
Boiles said the 25th anniversary of the bicycle tour was a huge accomplishment for East Texas Lightning.
“You don’t see too many fundraisers that last for 25 years. And it is holding steady around 400 participants. A lot of people care about this cause,” Boiles said.