LARGO – Four members of Intercontinental Hotel Group’s Hotel Performance Support Team are riding 500 miles on the Pinellas Trail to raise funds for Give Kids the World Village, a 70-acre resort near Orlando’s theme parks where children with life-threatening diseases and their families are treated to week-long, cost-free vacations.
Cyclists will set out on Largo’s West Bay Drive entrance to the Pinellas Trail at abouty 8 a.m. Oct. 16-22 for an 67-mile round trip to Tarpon Springs and back each day.
The cyclists are Chris Bates, senior area manager, Arizona, hotel performance support, Southeast InterContinental Hotel Group; Manuel “Manny” Mendoza, area manager, New Mexico and northeastern Arizona IHG Hotel Performance Support; Kathryn Bannasch, area manager Southeast Region; and Marvin Boyd, senior area manager, IHG Hotel Performance Team.
Bates said he started riding his bike to keep healthy a little over a year ago. After a ride that he did for charity in 2011, Boyd and he were talking about how we could help to raise awareness and contributions for Give Kids the World.
“In 2011, I was also able to volunteer at the village with my HPS teammates earlier in the year and I was touched by the work that they do for some very needy families. Marvin and I decided that we should put together a charity ride. I am 51 years old, and my motivation for keeping fit is my youngest son, as I want to be there when he grows up. My youngest son is only 6 years old and I also wanted to lead by example for fitness. My wife runs, my youngest son is a swimmer and I bike, so I guess we’ll have to do a team triathlon someday,” Bates said.
Mendoza began running and biking consistently more than three years ago.
“I challenged myself and have completed various 5K runs, sprint triathlons and bike races. Chris Bates and I often compare notes on our latest bike rides and best practices. One of those thoughts was, ‘How cool would it be to have a bike ride for a charity event sponsored by work?’ ” Mendoza said.
Bannasch started her hospitality career with an internship at Walt Disney World the year the park turned 10 years old. ‘
“I continued working two years past my initial internship and returned every summer because I believe and love everything that it stands for. I saw firsthand the magic that the Kingdom held for families and children of all types and how I could help impact that experience everyday in my role at the park. I believe everyone, everyone should go to Disney World,” she said.
BayStar Hotel Group’s Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites is providing free guest rooms for a week to the cyclists at 210 Seminole Blvd.