PruLife UK pedals cycling at forefront of fundraising

Conrado Diaz Jr. - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Cycling strode to greater heights in the UK recently as Geraint Thomas became the first Welshman to rule the prestigious Tour de France and one of UK’s biggest charity fundraising events, Prudential RideLondon, crossed the finish line with another milestone.

Prudential RideLondon, dubbed as the world’s greatest festival of cycling,  drew 100,000 riders to seven separate events over the last weekend of July.  

Jonathan Oliver, Prudential plc group communications director, said since it started in 2013, almost 70 million pound sterling has been raised, benefitting about 800 charities globally.

“Globally, we are insuring people’s health. By cycling, people become more active and feel healthier,” he said when asked why Prudential invests in such a sporting event.

“When this came along in 2013 (after the 2012 London Olympics,) it seemed a great opportunity for us to be associated with something that could change a lot of people’s lives.”

He added: “Through our partnerships with charities, people from underprivileged backgrounds can also ride. It’s a money-can’t-buy opportunity. It’s also great to see this spreading around the world, in Asian cities like Manila where people are starting to see the benefits of taking control of your health.”

Six years on, Prudential RideLondon is firmly established as part of the British calendar, covered extensively in news and other broadcasts.

And it is not just for elite riders. Men and women, young and old, people who haven’t cycled before, attempted the 100-mile challenge and other  challenges (Surrey 46 and Surrey 19.)

This year, the Philippines fielded a strong contingent led by four young, professional cyclists and four other hobbyists who all finished their respective categories.

Accompanied by Pru Life UK SVP and chief marketing officer Allan Tumbaga, AVP for corporate affairs Anna Gizelle Villareal-Camua and external communications officer Nica Riego, the proud Philippine team participated in the Brompton World Championship, Surrey 100 and Surrey 46.

A Filipino cyclist, Tetsuya “Jun” Minagawa, was a stand-out when he competed in the Brompton World Championship Final. Donning a traditional barong Tagalog as his official cycling attire, Minagawa cycled a 1.3-mile circuit around the world-famous St. James’ Park in the capital.

Minagawa joined more than 500 smartly-dressed cyclists from around the world who went through a Le Mans-style dash to unfold their bikes before they set off on an eight lap circuit.

This is the fourth time that the Brompton World Championships was featured in Prudential RideLondon, dubbed as the world’s greatest festival of cycling. Cyclists dressed unconventionally, wearing tuxedos, pants and unconventional footwear – no lycra or the choice fabric used in cycling uniforms is allowed in the category.

Minagawa represented Pru- Life UK in Prudential RideLondon 2018 after winning the Brompton Philippine Championships in PruRide PH 2018 in January at McKinley West in Taguig City.

In 24-year old Navy cyclist Jermyn Prado’s case, a flat tire past midway through the Surrey 100 temporarily stalled her run but amazingly, was able to finish even ahead of others despite running on a flat wheel.

Jermyn was named double-gold national champion for winning both of PruRide PH 2018’s Philippine National Road Race Championships Women’s Elite and Criterium Women’s Elite.

Other cyclists who represented the Philippines in Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 category are John Kenneth Cruz, Ryan Lamayo, and Bertrand Dominique Teplitxky. Representatives to the Surrey-46 category are  Philippine National Road Race Champion (under-23) Ismael Grospe, Jr., along with Genesis Maraña and Aidan James Mendoza.

On July 28 to 29, over 28,000 bananas were consumed, 29,000 Prudential bottled water were handed out, 20,000 pairs of Prudential sunglasses were given, and three million miles were cycled – equivalent to cycling from London to Manila 450 times.

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