Plush greenery and chirping birds surrounded bikers, runners and joggers as they embarked on Whirlpool Trail for the second Bike for Badges, a 10-mile charity mountain bike race Saturday.
The yearly event, which benefits law enforcement in Oxford and Lafayette County, was started last year.
“I love mountain biking, and I wanted to give Oxford something fun to do, as well,” Blake Horton, Oxford Police Department’s control man, said.
The charity race directly helps the Lafayette County Law Enforcement Officers Association. Some funds are used for retirement benefits and banquets. The monetary gains also aid OPD, the University Police Department and the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department officers in times of personal disasters.
“It’s a way to give back,” Horton said.
Though the event was marketed as a bike race, participants could walk, run or jog the 10-mile course.
Sponsored by MaxxSouth and Q105, Bike for Badges grew in its number of participants from last year’s inaugural event, in which only 10 riders participated. More than half of the participants preregistered for the event this year, putting the total number of riders at 20.
“MaxxSouth and Q105 have helped grow Bike for Badges,” Horton said. “They have graciously run the ad for free for three to four months, thus helping better get the word out there.”
According to Horton, depending on the skill level of the biker, it typically takes an hour to complete the trail ride. Finishing after about two hours, stay-at-home mom Angie Getz humorously called herself the snail of the race.
“I’ve never done 10 miles on a trail and on a bike,” she said.
Getz’s husband told her about Bike for Badges after hearing the advertisement on the radio. Looking for a challenge, she signed up. As a runner and part of Run Oxford, she said she purchased her mountain bike in May.
“It was really challenging,” Getz said. “I fell off, like, four times.”