Couple cycles Island 50 times for Children’s Hospital

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Mercer Island residents DJ and Renae Brooks celebrated their 50th birthdays by cycling around Mercer Island 50 consecutive times for Children’s Hospital. Tackling the marathon tag-team style, each taking one 13-mile loop at a time or riding together, the couple finished their goal in 44 hours and 36 minutes. They covered a total of 650 miles and raised $5,000 for the charity — $100 per loop.

“I’m beat, but better than I would have supposed,” DJ Brooks said in a text-message to a friend.

The couple began riding at 3 a.m. on Oct. 28, starting from the Boys & Girls Club on West Mercer Way. They finished lap 50 the following evening at 11:36 p.m. In between rides, Renae and DJ would rest at the Boys & Girls Club, where they refueled with food, talked with friends and sometimes slept in the back of a car or folding chair.

Despite exhaustion and fatigue, the couple accomplished their goal with help from friends and family.

“The reception we got from friends and acquaintances was great. We had lots of people show up. Some would ride a lap or two with us, others dropped off cookies, well-wishes and balloons,” said DJ Brooks.

“Some friends who lived on West Mercer and East Mercer put signs up in their windows for us to see as we rode by,” DJ Brooks said.

Others supported the couple on the road.

“My fastest lap was number 43 because I had a friend ride with me, so I had somebody to draft off,” DJ said. “He was going so fast, I could barely keep up with him. We must have done that lap in 43 minutes.”

Toward the end of day two, the couple rode some laps together to keep each other going. DJ Brooks, a competitive cyclist and avid athlete, took on some of Renae Brooks’ workload.

“Renae rides her bike on the Island, but she’s not a competitive cyclist,” DJ Brooks said.

In total, Renae Brooks rode 13 laps and DJ rode 36. The couple’s son, Daniel, rode the 49th lap for his mother since she was suffering from stomachaches. But before Daniel and his father could finish the final loop, they heard that Renae was already peddling around the Island on her own. DJ caught up, and the couple finished together.

Finishing shortly before midnight, the couple celebrated their feat with chocolate milk and a pizza at home.

“Then we went straight to bed,” DJ said.

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