Ride for Sight is back

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The Dis-Chem Ride for Sight event is back on the calendar after being canceled last year due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The race, which has grossed R10 million in its 32-year history, will take place on February 20 at Boksburg City Stadium.

Organized by volunteers under the leadership of Retina South Africa, the race aims to fight against retinal blindness. All proceeds from the event will go to projects that find a cure for the disease.

Retina SA chief scientist Claudette Medefindt said last year’s cancellation had severely affected their contribution to their retina research project.

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“The Dis-Chem Ride for Sight has been a major contributor to the Retina Research Project at the University of Cape Town (UCT) for many years. Unfortunately, due to the cancellation of the 2021 event, our contribution to UCT has been affected.

“Research had to be reduced by 70% and our contribution to the patient empowerment program was significantly reduced.

“This year, we are entitled to register 4,000 cyclists (2,000 for the 116 km and 2,000 for the 62 km) for the event and we hope to raise half a million. Twenty percent of the proceeds will go to the patient empowerment program and 70% to research at UCT.

The race includes the grueling 116km event where runners compete for the Ernest Hunt Trophy. It is also a ranking event for the 2023 Cape Town Tour. It also includes the 62 km event for junior ladies, under 17 and under 15 for ladies and men.

Race organizers have confirmed that all Covid-19 protocols will be adhered to.

“Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated riders can only register at CycleLab Boksburg on February 19. They must present an official negative PCR test, which is not older than 48 hours. Alternatively, they must do a rapid antigen test on site at the Saturday registration location at their own expense.

Dusty Day, the 2020 champion, expressed disappointment when the race was canceled last year.

“I wish the organizers had postponed the race instead, but it’s one of those things that you have to accept and move on. There’s nothing good that will come from the cancellation because it affects our sponsors who depend on results and exposure.

“There are already a handful of cycling events on the calendar, and Ride for Sight is one of the biggest. Road cycling has taken a financial hit in recent years.

“Different types of rides suit different riders and Ride for Sight suits me and my brother very well, so that’s quite disappointing.

“The Dis-Chem Ride for Sight is one of the few races that takes care of cyclists. The recognition we receive, the prize money and the awards ceremony itself.

Organizers have also called on riders to bring their old cycling kits when registering to help develop cycling teams that need them.

For the 116 km, registrations will close on February 6. Late registrations will only be allowed at registration if places are available and will also result in penalties. Registrations for the 62km are open until registration.

Registration is open at http://www.cycleevents.co.za

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