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ARTICLE Injured Veterans to Cycle 490 Miles from Houston to Arlington for the 2014 UnitedHealthcare Ride 2 Recovery Texas Challenge


HOUSTON (March 20, 2014) – More than 200 injured veterans and their supporters will set off March 23 on the UnitedHealthcare Ride 2 Recovery Texas Challenge, a seven-day, 490-mile rehabilitative ride from Houston to Arlington, concluding at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys.

Texas Challenge cyclists will start their journey in Houston at the Marriott Hotel (255 N. Sam Houston Pkwy E) and ride through central Texas with overnight stops in College Station, Georgetown, Fort Hood, Waco and Cleburne. The ride will end March 28 in Arlington.

"Ride 2 Recovery has been such a tremendous help in my healing that I am always recruiting other soldiers to join me," said U.S. Army SSG Kennetta Gunns, who is based at Fort Hood. "I ride my bike a lot on base and tend to walk around in my R2R riding gear. When people ask me why I'm wearing my R2R gear, I send them to the Adaptive Reconditioning program to help them on their journey of healing."

On March 29, riders will participate in the third annual Honor Ride – Clay Hunt in Fort Worth, which honors the service, values and memory of Houston native Sgt. Clay Hunt, a sniper with the U.S. Marine Corps who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He fought his own internal battles against the physical, emotional and psychological effects of war before taking his life two years ago.

The Honor Ride is a one-day, noncompetitive ride that is open to injured veterans and the general public. Participants have a choice of three distances – 23, 35 or 65 miles – all of which begin and end at Cooper's BBQ in the Fort Worth Stockyards.

"We encourage Texans along the route to come out and wave their flags and cheer on these extraordinary veterans and supporters. UnitedHealthcare is honored to help make this event come to life," said Tom Quirk, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Texas.

This is the fifth year that UnitedHealthcare will serve as Ride 2 Recovery's presenting sponsor, providing financial, in-kind and volunteer support to assist in the rehabilitation of America's injured veterans. This year, UnitedHealthcare is the presenting sponsor of six Ride 2 Recovery cycling challenges scheduled across the United States and in Normandy, France.

"In the UnitedHealthcare Challenge Series, about 60 percent of the participating injured veterans come through our feeder program, Project HERO," said John Wordin, president and founder, Ride 2 Recovery. "There are 43 Project HERO programs at military bases and VA facilities across the country. Our medical personnel and R2R onsite coordinators help prepare these healing heroes for the week-long challenge of riding a bike hundreds of miles. For these men and women, cycling becomes a life-changing addition to their physical and mental rehabilitation."

Ride 2 Recovery supports physical and psychological rehabilitation programs for injured veterans, featuring cycling as the core activity. From indoor spinning training at military installations to multiday, long-distance rides, Ride 2 Recovery helps injured veterans heal through the challenge of cycling long distances using hand cycles, recumbents, tandems and traditional road bikes.

About Ride 2 Recovery

Ride 2 Recovery, a 501(c) 3, helps injured veterans improve their health and wellness through individual and group cycling. Cycling has proven to be a catalyst in the recovery process by providing a new physical challenge while concurrently helping to cope with the mental challenges. Ride 2 Recovery benefits military mental and physical rehabilitation programs that feature cycling as the core activity. Bikes are often custom-fitted to the physical needs of each rider. There are 43 Ride 2 Recovery Project HERO programs at military installations and VA facilities that provide training, fitting and bikes to prepare riders for the long-distance challenges.

About UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 800,000 physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. Globally, UnitedHealthcare serves more than 45 million people in health benefits and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.