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Orange County runner plans to run 77 miles to fundraise for local nonprofit


Nathan Toben, a runner from Orange County, is attempting to run over 77 miles to raise funds for Triangle Bikeworks, a Carrboro non-profit that serves local students of color. Photo courtesy of Nathan Toben.

An Orange County runner is attempting to run over 77 miles to raise funds for Triangle Bikeworks, a Carrboro nonprofit that serves local students of color.

Nathan Toben, a local endurance coach and ultrarunner, will complete a 77.6-mile run on Segment 10 of North Carolina's Mountains-to-Sea Trail on Oct. 21 to raise $5,000 for Triangle Bikeworks. A fundraising page has been set up on, a sports-specific crowdfunding platform that allows pledgers to make donations for every mile Toben completes.

Triangle Bikeworks is a Carrboro-based nonprofit that provides underserved middle and high school students, predominantly students of color, with biking tours across the United States that focus on physical and educational growth.

Lynn Weller, the nonprofit’s development manager, said Triangle Bikeworks uses bike tours to teach the history of people of color that many students do not learn in the classroom and may not have heard before. 

She said all of the organization's bike routes follow a particular historic route, such as the Cherokee Trail of Tears or the Underground Railroad. 

 “History education is a big part of what we do,” Weller said.

The program allows participants to go on a 700-mile tour during the summer, during which they visit state and national parks and camp, averaging 55 miles a day.  Weller said the nonprofit is focused on breaking down the barriers that marginalized communities typically have with access to travel. 

“We give them their bikes, we give them clothing, we give them everything they need to get set up on a bike,” Weller said. “And then they get to travel, and they get to go across the state and other states.”

Toben said he wanted to be involved in the national movement for racial equality while also keeping his high-risk loved ones safe amidst the pandemic, so he began speaking with various members of Triangle Bikeworks about how to best create a fundraiser that would support their work. 

“It was a really good fit, because their education model is largely based on endurance, and my event that I’m doing is obviously an endurance event,” Toben said.

Kevin Hicks, the executive director of Triangle Bikeworks, said bikes are important to communities of color because of the freedom they represent. Hicks said bikes are a first venture into freedom for many children, and the group seeks to expand that freedom to communities who may not otherwise have the chance.

“Biking opens up a world of opportunity for lots of people,” Hicks said. “The youth that go on our tours, they don’t just bike. It’s self-advocacy, confidence-building and they get to see places outside of the small towns or state.”

According to the organization's website, the nonprofit was founded in 2010 after two years of advocating for better outcomes for youth of color in school. The organization found the programs resulted in changed attitudes, healthier diets and greater self-confidence, according to the website.

Hicks said he was incredibly humbled by Toben’s decision to run the marathon in support of Triangle Bikeworks and hopes the event will raise more awareness for the nonprofit in the local community.

“He’s using his platform to bring attention to and raise money for something that’s not himself,” Hicks said. “He’s being truly selfless.”

To learn more about Triangle Bikeworks and its work in the local community, visit


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