NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Lady Vol legend Michelle Marciniak is honoring her late friend, coach and mentor, Pat Summitt, all while raising awareness and money for Alzheimer’s, and she’s doing it as only Marciniak would: by riding 500 miles on a bicycle.
Marciniak and 23 other riders will be cycling from Nashville to Knoxville for “Pedal for Pat,” which is a total of 500 miles over six days going through the Smoky Mountains and finishing in downtown Knoxville.
This year, they’ll stop in Murfreesboro, Crossville, Athens and Gatlinburg to visit assisted-living facilities to spend time with those fighting Alzheimer’s, their families and their caregivers.
Marciniak said it’s her way of continuing to honor Pat Summitt.
“I always said Pat had the courage of a lion. When I spoke for her and with her, in her years that she couldn’t speak anymore. I did a lot of speaking on her behalf and I just I always said she just faced Alzheimer’s head-on. It was just phenomenal. I wish everyone had that kind of courage,” said Marciniak.
She played for Summitt for three years, but they remained close after.
“Pat was driven, but I tell you with with all the drive she had, she also had a drive to be the best. The best Mom, you know, the best friend, the best mentor. I mean, she she kind of just always hit with her passion. She hit on all cylinders,” said Marciniak. “She was the winningest coach of all history, but to me, she was actually a whole lot more than that. And when it comes to Alzheimer’s, she fought the battle head-on.”
She also said she feels a responsibility to carry on Pat’s legacy and continue fighting for a cure. “This is about the six years five and a half years that she battled a disease,” says Marciniak. “That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing. Because of her fierce intensity to battle Alzheimer’s. It’s, I mean, how can I not? How can I not do my part?”
This is the 5th year for the event, which Marciniak and founded along with Joshua Crisp. They both say their vision for the future of Pedal for Pat is “huge,” and they hope to take it nationwide. In the state of Tennessee, Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death.
Only 23 other riders will join her and if you are an avid cyclist, you still have time to sign up. Just go to PedalforAlzheimers.org. The ride starts September 13th in Nashville. If you aren’t up for 500 miles but still want to help, click here to donate.