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From The ESA To DC: 8th Annual AIDSRide Under Way

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RALEIGH, NC — More than 2,000 cyclists left Raleigh Thursday morning in an annual event to raise awareness and money for AIDS research.

Participants in the

8th Annual AIDSRide USA

left the Entertainment and Sports Arena at 6 a.m. to begin a 15-mile trek through Raleigh on the way to Washington, D.C.

Each rider had water, supplies and a story about why they are involved.

"We have a chance to make a difference. This is an opportunity I couldn't pass up," says a participant.

It will not be easy for the riders to reach the finish line 330 miles away.

High heat and hills are just a few of the obstacles the riders will encounter over the four-day trip.

Durham resident Christine Barboriak says participants often encourage one another.

"I remember going up a hill and thinking 'If I make it up this hill I can do anything,' she says. "I started to cry as I was peddling up the hill and another rider saw me and said 'You can do it.' I'll always remember that man in the brown jersey who encouraged me."

Each cyclist will have to push themselves to finish, but as a group they will make a $6.2 million difference for people living with HIV and AIDS.

Each participant had to raise a minimum of $2,400 to make the ride.

The group will make it to Lawrenceville, Virginia Thursday.The race ends Sunday in Washington, D.C.

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