Ohio doctor to cycle across U.S. for Operation Walk

ATHENS, Ohio – On Saturday, Dr. Keith Berend, of Joint Implant Surgeons, and seven other cyclists will compete in Race Across America (raceacrossamerica.org) to raise awareness for the nationwide charity Operation Walk (opwalkusa.com).

Rolling from the pier in Oceanside, San Diego, Calif., the racers will ride non-stop for 3,000 miles to Ocean City, Md. Pedalling 24 hours a day, Team Midwestern Blazing Saddles and its eight-man crew said they are on a mission.

During the week Berend is an orthopedic surgeon in Athens and Columbus but in his off time he trains as a competitive cyclist. He is part of a group of “everyday, weekend warrior athletes” that have a passion for endurance events, a greater passion for helping those in need and call themselves Midwestern Blazing Saddles, a press release states.

Their goal in 2016 is to set the eight-man world record for Race Across America to raise awareness and money for Operation Walk Mooresville (operationwalkmooresville.org) and Operation Walk Utah (operationwalkutah.org).

Operation Walk is a nonprofit organization that provides free hip and knee replacement surgeries to suffering people in the poorest and most underdeveloped countries around the world.

This year Race Across America will pass through Athens, Ohio. Joint Implant Surgeons asks the local community to come out and support Berend and Team Midwestern Blazing Saddles in their quest to raise awareness for Operation Walk.

The team expects to pass through Athens the morning of June 23 but this is a non-stop race and issues arise, they said. Race Across America has created a webpage to track each rider’s progress at www.raceacrossamerica.org/phone/live-tracking.html

West Union, Doddridge County, and Grafton, Taylor County, are the “time stations” mentioned on the Race Across America website before the race heads into the mountains of Western Maryland and the Maryland coastline.