AUGUSTA — The Trek Across Maine and the American Lung Association have announced that this year’s virtual event raised $360,500. The funds will be used to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease through research, education and advocacy. A portion of the funds will also be used for COVID-19 research.

This year, more than 600 cyclists from California to Maine registered for the 37th annual event that was held virtually for the second year in a row because of COVID-19 safety precautions.

In going virtual, event registration from new participants increased by 16%. The American Lung Association used new fundraising ideas such as the use of photo and video campaigns on social media, including Trek Bingo and Wyman’s Wild Rides.

Cyclists from across the U.S. participated in this year’s virtual Trek Across Maine to raise funds for COVID-19 research.

Since 1985, the annual event has raised more than $30 million and is the largest fundraising event in the country for the American Lung Association.

“During what has been a very challenging year for so many people, our Trekkers, volunteers and staff stepped up to the plate to make this year’s virtual Trek Across Maine a success. We were thrilled to see many new participants get involved and become part of our community. I am excited to announce that we plan to return to the traditional in-person event next year starting in Brunswick. Much like our cyclists and volunteers who can’t wait to see each other again, we are also looking forward to seeing thousands of smiling faces in June,” said Jeff Seyler, chief division officer of the American Lung Association.

This year, the virtual event allowed even more participants across the U.S. to get involved, including nearly 100 new registrations from states that included, California, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and others. Since the event was spread out over multiple months, more people were able to participate including the youngest rider at age 8 and the oldest at age 80. Patti Lane of Tewksbury, Mass., was the top individual fundraiser, raising $13,500, and the top fundraising team, for the second year in a row, was L.L.Bean at $30,501.03.

The Virtual Volunteer Award, given to the volunteer who raises the most funds for the event was Dail Martin of Casco, who raised $1,035. She is also one of only two original Trekkers who have participated for all 37 years of Trek Across Maine.

“We missed seeing everyone in person this year to celebrate the spirit of the Trek. We are already started planning next year’s event and are looking forward to having all the participants and volunteers safely together again to celebrate what we believe will be our biggest turnout ever. The 2022 ride is going to be about far more than the ride, it will be about the people, we see it as one huge reunion!” said Kim Chamard, senior manager of development for the American Lung Association of Maine.

The annual fundraising ride is typically held on Father’s Day weekend along a route from Brunswick to Lewiston, Waterville and Augusta. Registration for the 2022 Trek Across Maine will begin later this summer. To participate, volunteer or donate, visit TrekAcrossMaine.org.

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