Dad to brave Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 in aid of Great Ormond Street

An amateur cyclist whose baby daughter was in and out of hospital is raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital by taking part in this Sunday’s Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100.

Craigforth’s Matthew Hollingworth will attempt to ride 100 miles from Surrey to London for a second time after the challenge was reduced to 86 miles four years ago.

Hollingworth, a sales support coach for Prudential UK, volunteered at the event last year but is keen to take on the endurance test again to raise money as part of the Pru Peloton.

Prudential has challenged 50 people of mixed cycling ability to take on the 100-mile route in 2018, under the careful tutelage of current Tour de France leader Geraint Thomas.

Together the team are using the challenge to raise money for the event’s official charity, Great Ormond Street Hospital – a charity close to the Scot’s heart.

“Back in 2014 I was about nine stone lighter than I am currently, I was a lot fitter and it was just another challenge to add to the many events I had done,” said Hollingworth.

“Whereas this time round I am over 20 stone, very unfit and have a baby daughter now that has been unwell.

“In 2014 it rained a lot and they had to cut the circuit down, so this time I want to do the full 100 miles.

“My baby daughter Amelia has been in and out of hospital since she was born. This year Prudential RideLondon has linked up with Great Ormond Street Hospital.

“Having been in and out of a children’s hospital in the last year, I felt I had to give something back – fundraising has been going well so far, I’m aiming to hit the £500 or £600 mark.”

With a persistent back problem inflicted from playing rugby and football in his youth, and the recent hot temperatures that have soared well above 30 degrees, training for the event has been a challenge for Hollingworth.

But with leading Brit Thomas helping him in the early parts of training, the Scot has far from been alone on his journey to cycle 100 miles.

He’ll get to do so on closed roads of the capital too, with the Prudential RideLondon taking its place as the world’s greatest festival of cycling – an experience he is certainly looking forward to.

He added: “We have met Geraint twice, first of all at Great Ormond Street Hospital and he was a really laidback kind of guy, then we all went on a trip to Wales where he kept everyone level-headed.

“Then we met him again on the Wales trip. He was a really friendly bloke to speak to. He has tried to keep everyone level headed.

“People get quite excited about things like this and you get into all these sort of gels and energy bars. He gave us a lot of tips on how to use them effectively. It was really useful.

“I recently attempted one of the hardest cycling routes in Scotland, I had several punctures inside the first 20 miles, a hole in my back tire, my gears went and I went because I had not eaten anything.

“It has been a hard slog to try and get myself back to some level of fitness which hasn’t happened for a year.

“But when you’ve got so many people there in the same boat as you are, it really helps you get through the day and I’m looking forward it.”

Matthew Hollingworth is riding with Prudential and their Pru Peloton team, a group of mixed ability cyclists taking on Prudential RideLondon and fundraising for Great Ormond Street Hospital. Follow their journey at:  

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