This weekend the crash barriers won’t be erected, drinks stations will not be set up and the 100 miles between the QE2 Olympic Park and the Surrey Hills won’t be lined by thousands of supporters cheering, and clapping cyclists combating the annual Prudential RideLondon100 cycle event, an Olympic legacy.

It’s been like watching the Queen’s soldiers stood out on Horse Guards Parade on a boiling hot summer’s day this year when it comes to our nation’s sporting challenges. There’s always one – the soldier you feel sorry for that buckled under the heat, concertinaing to the floor with the public quietly watching on, waiting to see if it will happen to another one. If Lizzy’s soldiers are a metaphor for the London Marathon, the Prudential 100, and all our own local 10k road races, it’s like watching a whole parade of soldiers toppling – ‘ohh another one’s down…. COVID cancellation and postponement strikes again.’

COVID-19 has affected us all. For some, that’s been in the most real, saddening and tragic way. Incomparable, but loss has also been in the form of letting go of the realisation of sporting achievements in the way runners, swimmers and cyclists had imagined; cue thousands of cheering people on route to a photo finish etc. The months of training suddenly pointless as organisers make the difficult but completely right announcements, cancelling events; public safely coming first in the face of the virus.

But all has not been completely lost and training can be honoured. The power of sport, the inner teeth gritting will of; ‘I can and we will do this’ has found a new way of going about its business, bringing people together even if they never all meet at that same time or day on the 100 mile route that takes in Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and the glory of our local hills.

Virtual fundraising challenges have broken through this year, born in COVID, with events often announced at fairly short notice off the back of the main ‘in-person’ event cancellation. Virtual fundraisers still have the power to create a new united national feel, good overcoming bad, fitness and fundraising triumphing for the betterment of society’s most vulnerable people. Virtual sporting challenges are on the up and with us for some time yet, which need the buy-in of participants and the sponsorship of their supporters.

The 2.6 virtual challenge back in April this year reminded everyone of the power of running with people across the country getting out for a run, in support of the ethos and spirit of the postponed Virgin Money London Marathon. This weekend Cherry Trees welcomes the re-versioned and virtual My Prudential RideLondon ‘event’. Celebrating two days of cycling, people can get out for a bike ride raising a few pounds in the process for charities like ours, ensuring some of the millions of pounds usually raised annually are still realised. The event is virtual in the sense you sign up online, cycle any route at any time, tracking it on the My Prudential RideLondon app. Supported with an online fundraising page to help raise money from people collectively taking part but separate in location and road routes.

We think the format for this particular event is great. With 4 race distances to choose from, the social distancing caveat can be still be met and it’s fun, free and inclusive. People can use skateboards as an alternative to a bike if they want to (!!) whilst an active call for people in wheelchairs to join in gets a big thumbs up from our charity working in the disability sector. To sign up to cycle and fundraise for Cherry Trees see the challenge pages of our website with more virtual challenges announced across the year as they arise.

Mass 'in-person' events may have gone away for a bit, but there's no reason you can't still feel this good through a virtual 

self selecting route and ride out joining in with virtual events like 'My Prudential RideLondon', 15th-16th August 2020.