With tired legs and bleary eyes, Strathcona High School students finished their 24-hour bikeathon on Saturday morning having raised almost half a million dollars for charity.

More than 1200 students on 127 teams pedaled their way through the night Friday to end a six-week fundraising campaign for the school's chosen charity, ShelterBox Canada, which provides emergency shelter and supplies to communities around the world facing disaster or humanitarian crisis.

The school has raised more than a million dollars for various charities during the past eight years of doing the bikeathon. Last year, the event was declared Canada's largest school service project, raising $352,000 for Edmonton's Bissell Centre. 

Students dressed in costumes filled the school's gymnasium, some napping as their teammates pedaled in shifts.

Student Michelle Luong said the pain is worth the payoff.

"Generally, the reaction is all the same, it's 'Ow, my butt really hurts,'" she said. "You are tired by the end of it but ... you are going to feel good when that cheque comes out.

"You realize that the things I've done in the past 24 hours totally were worth a couple of hours of pain on the bike."


More than 1200 students fought through the pain to pedal their way towards almost half a million dollars raised for charity. (CBC/John Robertson)