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Cleveland Clinic's VeloSano goes virtual in 2020: How you can still participate in the fundraising ride

Like so many other events, the coronavirus pandemic is forcing Northeast Ohio's largest ride weekend to go virtual. But that makes participating even easier.

CLEVELAND — For the past six years, the cycling weekend known as VeloSano has raised more than $21 million for life-saving cancer research at the Cleveland Clinic. But the coronavirus pandemic has forced VeloSano organizers to tweak their plans for their annual ride, which draws thousands of people.

The COVID-19 pandemic means thousands of riders can't come together. So VeloSano organizers completely retooled the event with this year's ride, now virtual.

“VeloSano has officially evolved into virtual VeloSano for 2020," Nicole Peters of VeloSano tells 3News. "And obviously we made that decision just with everyone's safety in mind. it just felt like the right thing to do this year."

This year, participants can bike, run, walk, swim -- even canoe their way to their goal.

And to keep track of their activity? There's an app for that.

The app is called “Strava.” When you sign in, it logs your activity and you can even check out the leaderboard to see how others are performing virtually.

“Once you've tracked your activity, you can share it to your social media and it shows like ‘I just biked 10 miles,' and then ‘Would you donate to me to support my VeloSano efforts?’”

But even if you can't get out and ride or walk you can still make a difference.

“We're still asking people to raise what they can, but there's no commitment. You don't have to raise a certain amount by a certain time, just do what you can and we'll try to raise as much as we can.”

100 percent of the money raised goes to research, clinical trials and cancer treatments.

“So the other unique thing with virtual VeloSano is you don’t have to be registered in time for a certain weekend, or a certain time frame. We fundraise until October 1, and you can register September 1, and still make an impact,” Peters says.

“We have a team that formed in London, we have a team coming online from Toronto, Canada. So, it's really been so cool to see the momentum building around this. People are passionate still about fighting cancer.”