GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Thousands of cyclists rode through West Michigan during the 7th annual Gran Fondo, to support MSU’s skin cancer awareness, prevention, and research programs.

The Michigan State University College of Human Medicine Gran Fondo, is a non-competitive cycling event held on Saturday, June 22. Gran Fondos are long distance, mass-participation cycling events.

The 2019 Gran Fondo started and finished at the B.O.B in downtown Grand Rapids. The MSU Gran Fondo then followed a scenic route throughout West Michigan. The shortest loop turns at Millennium Park, while the longest ride leads to Lake Michigan, turning at Grand Haven. Cyclists of all skill levels can ride in the event. This year, a 12-mile, 25, 40, or 80-mile route were given as options for cyclists.

There were a record number of cyclists who took part in the 7th annual MSU Gran Fondo, more than 2,000 took part in the event.

“It’s hard to keep an event fresh and growing but the committees done a great job, we have awesome sponsors and keep adding things to it,” GR Fondo Advantage Benefits Founder Robert Hughes. “To see the people’s enthusiasm to want to sign up and make it bigger puts a big smile on everyone’s face.”

Funds raised from the Grand Fondo go towards skin cancer research at MSU, as well as programs to increase the prevention, awareness and detection of skin cancer. Overall, the event has raised more than $1 million and supported several skin cancer studies, including research on a new drug that stops the spread of melanoma by 90 percent.

“I can’t think of a better cause then supporting skin cancer research, its amazing the event that this impact has had already on raising funds for cancer research,” said Professional Cyclist Brent Bookwalter. “It’s an inspiring point to rally behind and I think it’s something that really connects all of us no matter who you are.”

For more on MSU Gran Fondo, or how you can give back, click here.