United4Health, a four-person cycling team with an average age of 70,
will set off Saturday, June 16, on the Race Across America (RAAM), a
seven-day, 3,000-mile ride from Oceanside, Calif., to Annapolis, Md.
United4Health, sponsored by UnitedHealthcare, will begin its journey at
the Oceanside Pier and will cross 12 states, pass through 88 counties
and 350 communities before finishing in Annapolis at the City Dock
Saturday, June 23.
The Race Across America is known as the world’s toughest bicycle race
and is one of the most respected and longest-running endurance sporting
events in the world. Amateur and professional athletes ages 13 to 75
will come from all over the world to participate in this challenging
United4Health cycling team members are Don Metz, 72; Michael Patterson,
70; Durward Higgins, 70; and David Burnett, 68. A 15-person crew,
including drivers, mechanics, a nurse practitioner, a massage therapist
and a cook, will support the cyclists along the trip in two RVs, two
minivans, and a crew chief's car.
For seven days, the United4Health team will ride around the clock,
raising funds for the Trust for Public Land and Shape Up America. The
team members will cycle in a relay style, with one rider racing at a
“I cycled for fun for many years and then turned to racing at the age of
63,” said Patterson. “I've learned it takes a lot of discipline. It
takes a lot of commitment, but it’s very rewarding: the rewards of
health and just the fun of riding your bike fast. I feel a real sense of
accomplishment, of being totally engaged in something and having goals
and then reaching them.”
Three of the team members began competitive cycling later in life. Metz
first raced at age 65; Patterson at 63; and Burnett at 59.
“I call Michael Patterson ‘the Sultan of Cycling.’ Before he turned 70,
he set a goal for himself to race across the country with three other
70-plus cyclists. It is inspiring because it shows us that we all need
goals,” said Reed Tuckson, M.D., executive vice president and chief of
medical affairs, UnitedHealth Group. “It doesn’t need to be a
cross-country race; it could be crossing other personal boundaries that
have held you back. You need to identify your goals, own them and
For more information about the United4Health cycling team and to follow
their progress during the RAAM, visit www.united4healthracing.com.
To support the United4Health cycling team with a donation, visit www.united4healthracing.com/donate/.
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 650,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,000 hospitals
nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 38 million people and is
one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH - News), a
diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.