Riders spent the night on stationary bikes to help homeless young men
24-hour Iron Ride raised funds for Pan Am Place
After 24 hours of hard riding, tired Winnipeggers stepped off stationary bikes in Old Market Square at noon Sunday.
They were taking part in the 24-hour Iron Ride, a fundraiser for Pan Am Place, a shelter that uses fitness to help young men 18-29 struggling with homelessness and other issues.
Confiance Rurangirwa said he participated to give back to the shelter. Rurangirwa came to Canada when he was 11 and says it was a culture shock.
He met people at Pan Am place struggling with family issues and trying to get out of gangs.
He said the program — which requires residents participate in boxing training and commit to volunteer hours — helped him get his life back on track.
"To feel comfortable and to continue motivating themselves to continue. And for me, I had a hard time understanding that I could be stronger than I already am," he said.
Pan Am Place founder Harry Black said the routine of training at the centre — which includes hitting the gym three to four times a week — helps give the men a sense of purpose, and supports them while they go back to school or find work.
"We make it really an important part of their mental and physical health. We coach them, but we coach them in areas that you and I get from our parents or teachers," said Black.
CBC's Weekend Morning Show spoke to Black in hour 20 of the event Sunday morning, after biking through the night on a team with his son. He said the heavy rain and cold weather took a toll, but didn't stop about 60 people from participating.
Their goal was to raise $100,000.