NEWRY — Starting on Friday morning from Sunday River Ski Resort, more than 2,500 bicyclists will join Route 2 traffic headed east to Farmington.

They’re participating in the American Lung Association’s 28th annual Trek Across Maine on June 15-17.

The 180-mile pedaling adventure seeks to raise $1.8 million this year for the Lung Association, Kathleen O’Neill, ALA communications director, said by email Wednesday afternoon.

Participants were to begin leaving the Newry resort at 7 a.m. Friday and pedal through Rumford, Peru, Canton, Jay, East Dixfield and Wilton, and finish the 69.3-mile day at the University of Maine at Farmington.

The second 60-mile leg starts Saturday from Farmington and finishes at Colby College in Waterville. The last 60 miles starts Sunday in Waterville and finishes at Steamboat Landing Park in Belfast.

O’Neill said there are 700 volunteers working the event, many of whom man rest stations along the way that offer food, drinks, bicycle maintenance and more amenities.

All proceeds from the Trek Across Maine directly fund lung disease research, advocacy and education, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease/asthma management, smoking cessation programs and advocacy for stronger clean air standards, she said.

For more than 100 years, the American Lung Association has been at the forefront in the Fight for Air.

In Maine, an estimated 176,840 people suffer from lung diseases, including asthma, lung cancer and COPD, O’Neill said.

Events are being held nationwide to bring attention to the devastating effects of lung disease.

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