STURBRIDGE, Mass. — On Friday, thousands of people arrived at the Sturbridge Host Hotel for the 2023 Pan-Mass Challenge. Since 1980, the event has raised more than $900 million for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. 

What You Need To Know

  • Participants gathered at the Sturbridge Host Hotel on Friday for the 2023 Pan-Mass Challenge

  • The event will begin early Saturday morning, with some traveling as far as 186 miles by Sunday

  • 100% of the money raised benefits Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

  • An opening ceremony was held on Friday evening

Roughly 6,500 bikers from across the U.S. and six other nations are rising to the challenge this year, and those planning to go the full distance from Sturbridge to Provincetown have a 186-mile journey ahead of them. 

It is by no means an easy ride, and some like Charles Martley have been doing it for decades. 

"This is year 34 and we rode up from Washington D.C.," Martley said. "Last year was from Niagara Falls, the year before was from Boone, North Carolina. We've done Montreal, Lake Memphremagog, we've been all through New England."

Martley said he's been riding in the Pan-Mass Challenge since 1990. He believes with the money raised and the advancements made in treatment since he first started cycling for a cure, there has to be a breakthrough soon. 

"We still have cancer, we're still fighting cancer," Martley said. "I've lost a few family members, not as many as some families. It's cancer itself that inspires me to do this. Sometimes, it's the inspiration of other riders that pulls me along."

One-hundred percent of the money raised by participants goes directly to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Since Billy Starr created the Pan-Mass Challenge in 1980, the organization has provided a much-needed shot in the arm for cancer research and treatment while giving survivors, loved ones and others an annual opportunity to connect. 

"One of my mantras is credibility through repetition, people come back year after year," Starr said. "Obviously it works in their life, it's meaningful, the work is important and all of us found a way of expanding our identities as fundraisers, philanthropists, joining the battle against cancer and moving the ball forward."

The event is also made possible by the efforts of 3,100 volunteers. 

Riders will begin Saturday morning, and the Pan-Mass Challenge continues through Sunday as they make their way across Massachusetts.