Coasterthon, an annual event produced in a joint effort by Children’s Hospital of Atlanta and Six Flags Over Georgia, featured a marathon ride on the Mindbender roller coaster, for which participants had to raise at least $150 to save a seat.
Richard and Melody Rock, a Marietta father-daughter pair with a shared love of coasters, said they were both enjoying the ride after a handful of laps around the Mindbender’s neon-green track.
Richard Rock said he hoped they could complete 100 more laps before the cloudy sky delivered rain. Together with his daughter, the two had raised more than $650 at the start of their ride.
Dwayne Kilbourne, a Kennesaw web designer, said he “guaranteed” he would endure the day without having to leave his coaster seat — aside from the hourly five-minute breaks and one-hour lunch break park officials mandate.
“I’m a big coaster addict,” Kilbourne said. The amusement park enthusiast said he was disappointed by the fact rain cut the ride short at last year’s event.
Kilbourne said he was still feeling good after his 18th lap.
Brittany Wilson, the Children’s Hospital official in charge of the event, said the fundraiser had already netted more than $9,000 and hoped more would pour in throughout the day.
Wilson said friends and family of participants were continuing to donate money through their fundraising pages and mailed checks, even as the coaster car threaded the Mindbender’s loops that morning.
After the first hour, three participants had to step off the coaster early when the constant speed proved too much to handle. Some left the ride to catch their breath, while one was likely done for the day.
Jennifer Moore, a Marietta homeschooling mother, said she had friends who have used the services at Children’s Hospital of Atlanta before.
“I love roller coasters, and you don’t really get a chance to do something like this with a coaster for a whole day very frequently,” Moore said of the fundraiser.
Gene Petriello, a Six Flags spokesman, said the Mindbender coaster is among the park’s most popular attractions.
“We picked this roller coaster because that’s what the participants said they want to ride on,” he explained.
Petriello said an explanatory sign in front of the Mindbender’s entrance had been met with understanding from unaffiliated parkgoers who may have had to wait a little longer in the coaster’s queue.
“We’re planning on doing this next year, and hopefully for many years after that,” Petriello said. “We’re proud to be a part of something like this.”