Damon Murphy is taking part in Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100.
A Morden man is getting back in the saddle for the first time in nearly three decades for Britain’s biggest cycling race for a generation – and to raise money for Cancer Research UK, a cause close to his heart.
Damon Murphy, 39, has signed up for the inaugural Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100, which will see 20,000 riders tackle a 100-mile route finishing on The Mall in central London on August 4.
The ride starts from the new Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and follows the London 2012 road race route, taking in the physically demanding Box and Leith Hills in Surrey, before returning to the capital.
While the race would prove incredibly demanding of the most experienced of cyclists Damon was a smoker who regularly got through 25 cigarettes a day, yet the challenge has inspired him to give up smoking altogether.
Supporting Cancer Research UK was the obvious choice for the 39-year-old, whose mother Angela was twice diagnosed with breast cancer, but successfully beat the disease following two separate mastectomies.
More recently, Damon has been further motivated to fundraise for the charity after seeing his close friend Keith Webster suffer at the hands of a rare brain tumour. Having visited Keith in hospital, Damon is even more determined to help bring forward the day when all cancers are cured.
“Cancer has devastated my family in the past, and is still affecting those closest to me,” said Damon, of Wandle Road.
“I know what it’s like for families to be affected by this horrible disease, and by taking on this challenge I am helping to support the charity’s life-saving research.
“The training has been hard work but I’m sure I’ll feel the benefit on the day. I have just gone over 1,000 miles for the year so far, and have spent nearly 74 hours in the saddle.
None of this would have been possible had I still been smoking, as the only exercise I used to do was walking from the car park to work.”
Organisers are aiming to make the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 the largest charity fundraising cycle event in the world, with the route taking place on closed roads through the capital and into Surrey’s stunning countryside.
And Damon cannot wait to toe the starting line, adding: “RideLondon has given me something to focus all my energy and time on this year and this is all thanks to Cancer Research UK giving me the opportunity of a place in the race.
“Their support has been fantastic, going right through to the end with full post-race support, and I am delighted to have raised over £1,500 for Cancer Research UK so far.
“Having received the start times recently, the butterflies have kicked in already. I feel incredibly excited and honoured to be taking part in the inaugural event, something which is only going to get bigger and more global, much like the Virgin London Marathon is today.”
Gary Bansor, Cancer Research UK Sport Team Executive, said: “One in three people are affected by cancer, and whilst cancer survival rates have doubled in the past 40 years there is still so much work to do. Every step we take towards beating cancer relies on every pound donated, so please take part in a sports event for Cancer Research UK.”
To support Damon, visit http://www.justgiving.com/DamonMurphy2013 and make a donation.
Prudential RideLondon takes place on 3 & 4 August. If you’re inspired to ride, visit www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk
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