Illinois head coach Jim Heffernan's team will be helped by the Champaign-to-Philadelphia bicycle trip of Dave Williams.
June 30, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Longtime Fighting Illini wrestling fan Dave Williams will begin a bicycle journey from Huff Hall to the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pa., home of the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships, on July 1 in an attempt to raise $25,000 to support Illinois wrestling. The 63-year-old professor of crop science at the University of Illinois grew up outside of Philadelphia and is using this opportunity "to challenge himself and the Illinois wrestlers to reach their shared destination, Philadelphia," Williams wrote in a flyer announcing the mission.
"The fact that Dave has decided to do this for our program is really overwhelming," Illinois head coach Jim Heffernan said. "He has been a very loyal supporter for a number of years and is one of our biggest fans. Dave has made a huge sacrifice to make this a reality and everyone involved with Illini wrestling is grateful for his efforts. This is really an unbelievable individual undertaking to make a historic contribution to our program."
Williams is planning a 6:30 a.m. departure from Huff Hall on Thursday, July 1, and he will be sent off by members of the Illini wrestling team. Those wishing to support him financially can make a flat donation or pledge by the mile completed, with the entire trip being estimated at 1,000 miles. Williams will match up to the first $10,000 of pledges with his own money and he encourages friends of the Illini wrestling program to ride along with him as he passes their homes.
He plans to ride in intervals of five days followed by a day of rest. Williams' goal is to average 10 miles per hour and 50 miles per day along the following route: a Google maps-designed bike route from Huff Hall to Indianapolis to Richmond, Ind., which is approximately 300 miles. He then will take Ohio bike route F from Richmond to Moundsville, W. Va., a distance of 306 miles. Williams will ride from Moundsville, W. Va., to Somerset, Pa. (137 miles), then from Somerset, Pa., to Philadelphia, a distance of 342 miles via Hagerstown, Md., Chambersburg, Pa., Carlisle, Pa., Harrisburg, Pa., Reading, Pa., Pottstown, Pa., and Valley Forge, Pa. He aims to complete the journey in three weeks or less. More information, including the ability to donate, can be found here.