Worthington resident Patrick Rogers' choice of attire fits Pelotonia challenge just right

Scott Hennen
ThisWeek group
Patrick Rogers (right), wearing his signature Superman costume, poses with (from left) his brother, Phillip Rogers, his father-in-law, Tim Heron, and his brother, Alex Rogers, before riding in Pelotonia in 2019. Rogers will continue his Pelotonia fundraising this year by wearing a collared golf shirt with a large Superman emblem as he tries to finish as many holes of golf as he can at St. Albans Golf Club in Alexandria with childhood friends Brad Highland and Matt Highland.

Superman will again make an appearance in Pelotonia, but this time he will forego a blue unitard for a collared golf shirt.

Patrick Rogers will be a little less conspicuous while participating in his third year of fundraising. The Worthington resident will be joined by childhood friends, brothers Brad and Matt Highland, in playing as many holes of golf as possible Sunday, Aug. 9, at St. Albans Golf Club in Alexandria.

Because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and a desire to keep participants, volunteers and supporters safe, Pelotonia in May canceled its annual weekend ride and in-person events, which were slated Friday to Sunday, Aug. 7 to 9.

But a reimagined 2020 Pelotonia has been rolling on virtually, with participants setting their own fundraising and activity goals and tracking them through mypelotonia.org to continue the mission of supporting cancer research at Ohio State University's James Cancer Center and Solove Research Institute.

Rogers, 42, started riding in Pelotonia in 2018 in honor of his father, Danny Rogers, who died of duodenal cancer on Feb. 10 of that year.

"Dad liked to ride bikes, but golf is something we both enjoyed," said Rogers, who is an assistant director of business technology services at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. "We want to play as many holes as we can from sunup to sundown. We have set a benchmark of 72 holes, and we would really want to reach that."

The Superman motif was integral to Rogers in his first two Pelotonia rides in which he wore a costume.

A lifelong comics fan, he presented a Superman T-shirt to his father before his first chemotherapy session. He wrote a message to his father stating, "In my life when I wore this shirt, it made me feel invincible. I hope to give you some of my strength."

"I won't be wearing a Superman costume this year, but a part of it will still be there," Rogers said. "Instead, I have taken an iron-on of the Superman logo and put it on a golf shirt. Just like when I rode (in past years), I won't have a cape. You can't ride a bike with a cape because it would get caught in the wheels, and I won't have one this time, either."

The Highland brothers grew up in Chillicothe with Rogers, and later they were his college roommates at Ohio State.

Matt Highland planned to have a couple of food trucks at St. Albans to sate the appetites of the families and well-wishers.

However, the threesome decided against that because they wanted to limit the possibility of spreading the coronavirus.

"Because of COVID, we're not inviting people out as an event, but we will have family members drop by," Matt Highland said. "We want to keep the numbers low.

"I have helped out (with Pelotonia) before but have never participated in the specific fundraising before. I have always wanted to help Patrick out with his cause and because it's golf this year, I thought it would be a good time to jump in."

This year's Pelotonia format includes a unifying event in the spirit of the traditional opening ceremony: a special broadcast called Legends LIVE! that will be streamed on pelotonia.org/rise, Facebook (facebook.com/pelotonia) and YouTube (youtube.com/ridepelotonia) from 7 to 8 p.m. Aug. 7.

"As we've had to pivot away from our traditional mass physical gathering this year, our priority has been to create new opportunities for our community to engage and continue to raise critical funds for cancer research," said Doug Ulman, president and CEO of Pelotonia. "The My Pelotonia platform and upcoming Legends LIVE! broadcast on Friday, Aug. 7, allow anyone, anywhere to play an important role in Pelotonia's mission this year.

"Legends LIVE! will be a celebration of what we've accomplished so far and the important work still to come – featuring moving and uplifting stories of survival, research successes, musical performances and many special guests."

Rogers participated last year with his brothers, Alex and Phillip Rogers, riding alongside as a team. He said he loved the adrenaline he received from the bystanders along the route cheering on the riders, but that will not be part of the atmosphere this year.

"I'll miss being a part of that, but we have to be safe," he said.

"We all have to be aware of social distancing, and golf is one of the safer activities because we can be farther away from each other.

"We'll be walking the course and having fun, but I didn't want to lose that endurance aspect so we'll be walking around with our golf bags. If it takes 10 to 12 hours, we want to feel like we have done something by the end of the day."

shennen@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekHennen