SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Cyclists across Illinois kicked off a special ride in Springfield Tuesday morning before the sun even came up.

Thirty-one riders are taking part in the annual “Gold Star 500.” They will travel more than 500 miles over the next five days, making stops in Quincy, Galesburg, Rock Falls and Woodstock before ending the trip on Saturday at Great Lakes Naval Station in North Chicago.

The event honors 300 Illinois service members killed while serving overseas since 9/11, including 34 Illinois National Guard members.

“We ride our bicycles around the state and share stories with Goldstar families and friends of fallen service members so that we make sure that they’re never forgotten,” one cyclist said.

The event was founded in 2017. Money raised during this year’s race will go towards scholarships named after fallen service members.