Raynes Park couple cycles 100 miles to say 'I do' during Prudential RideLondon challenge

Not your ordinary wedding album: Gary Watson and Lisa Russell will wed in lycra on Sunday

Not your ordinary wedding album: Gary Watson and Lisa Russell will wed in lycra on Sunday

First published in News
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This Is Local London: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Helmet hair and lycra are a far cry from the traditional bride-to-be's wish list for her wedding day.

But it's the dream attire for one Raynes Park couple who will tie the knot in the middle of a 100-mile cycle challenge this Sunday.

Gary Watson, 44, and Lisa Russell, 41, of Vernon Avenue, will exchange nupitals at Richmond Park's Pembroke Lodge half way through completing the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey ride.

The adventurous pair, who first met travelling around Australia in 1996, are no strangers to long-distance cycle rides, with two-wheel treks across Iceland and Norway among their holiday memories.

Miss Russell said: "It’s all a bit silly really, we were joking with our friends that we would get married while riding around London if we got a place."

"And when we eventually got a place we were like, ‘ok this is happening now, we can’t go back.’ "I don’t really care about my hair being a mess on the day, I’m the sort of person who is happy with it up in a pony tail.

"It will be a case of doing it as quick as possible and then getting back on the bike and finishing the 100 mile challenge."

Their five-year-old daughter Betsy will be waiting at the ceremony with their wedding rings.

Friends are going to meet the couple with champagne on Box Hill and after the finish the plan is to head straight to the pub with friends and family.

Miss Rusell added: "We just like to have fun and this will certainly be a way to remember things."

The couple will be among 24,000 cyclists setting off from the Olympic Park at 9am, to enjoy a traffic-free ride down to Surrey before completing the return leg through Raynes Park and Wimbledon.

Mr Watson, a graphic designer and Miss Russell, expedition leader at The Ultimate Travel Company, are riding to raise money in memory of their friends' daughter, Isla Cecil, who died aged 15 months from a rare brain tumour.

Miss Russell said it was an easy decision to fundraise for the Isla Cecil Brighter Future Fund, which has raised more than £5m since Isla's death in November 2012.

Prudential are proud to sponsor Prudential RideLondon, the UK’s biggest cycling festival on the 9 & 10 August. Visit www.ridewithprudential.co.uk

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