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HUNTINGTON — An event that celebrates the legacy of a Huntington doctor returned to the city Saturday.

About 20 riders were part of bike rides for Fit Fest. On Saturday morning, the groups embarked on the Paul Ambrose Trail for Health from the Ritter Park Fountain.

Dr. Paul Ambrose died in the 9/11 attacks in 2001. During his lifetime, Ambrose studied family health and preventative medicine to combat obesity. Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the attacks.

The parents of the late doctor, Ken and Sharon Ambrose, were in attendance before the riders left the fountain area. They both said it means a lot to see their son’s legacy live on through Huntington.

“Paul loved West Virginia. He loved Huntington. He loved Marshall,” Sharon Ambrose said.

Paul Ambrose always had a bike with him wherever he went, his mother said. She added that he made time to exercise, no matter how busy he was.

“Paul was always into fitness and prevention, and this is one way that the PATH can be utilized,” Ken Ambrose said.

Fit Fest was originally a fundraiser for the creation of the PATH. The city of Huntington’s Planning Department brought the event back this year.

“We’re really excited to have the crowd that we’re seeing out here — some different faces and some people (of) different age groups,” said Breanna Shell, the city planning director.

Shell said she would like to see Fit Fest become an annual event again. Projects focused on the maintenance of the PATH and connections of the larger trails network will be in the works in the future, she said.

Tommy Legg was part of a ride with his 5-year-old son Ryker. Before the two left the fountain, he said they woke up early Saturday to come to Fit Fest.

“He’s just started learning how to ride his bike. He finally got it without the training wheels where he could start it himself, so he’s super excited about riding it,” Legg said of his son.

Members of the Fourpole Creek Watershed Association picked up litter around the park during Fit Fest. The Huntington Stormwater Utility had a booth with demonstrations.

The city sold about 15 bike licenses during Fit Fest. The plates, which cost $1, are a way to register bicycles with the city in case of theft. Applications include information about the make of the bicycle and its serial number. Bike licenses can be bought in the Finance Department at City Hall, Room 20.

McKenna Horsley is a reporter for The Herald-Dispatch, covering local government in Huntington and Cabell County. Follow her on Twitter @Mckennahorsley.

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