Owen Thomas’ family went through some dark days when the 34-year-old dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

But 18 months on, his family couldn’t be more positive.

Against all the odds, Owen’s cancer is in remission, and now his wife Ali and brother-in-law John Greenway are all set to cycle 100 punishing miles. 

“It was my sister-in-law’s idea,” said Ali, 34, from Horndean. “She told me John was training for the Ride 100 and wanted a training buddy. She said I’d get a medal. I think the bit of me that’s unhinged took over!

My bike had been sitting in the garage untouched for 18 months. I’m scared of cars and of going downhill. I don’t even drive 100 miles unless it’s really necessary.

Reality dawned when training began in earnest in January.

“John’s been really supportive and tolerant of my slow pace – although there have been times when he’s taken me down hills like a cliff face,” said Ali, who works for Southern Health as the Team Leader for the Older Persons Mental Health Team.

The Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 100 on July 29 starts in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, then follows a 100-mile route through the capital and into the Surrey countryside. After leg-testing climbs on a route made famous at the London 2012 Olympics, it finishes in The Mall in London.

Ride London The ride takes on an iconic route, ending with cheering crowds along The Mall

Owen, their three-year-old son Rudy, Sophie and other family and friends will be at the finish line to greet Ali and John, 33, from Purbrook, who works in IT for Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust.

As for Owen, he has astounded medics by beating bowel cancer into remission after a course of chemotherapy in 2017.

“He’s back at work, playing rugby for Portsmouth RFC again and we’ve both signed up for next year’s Brighton Marathon,” said Ali.

It’s incredible. We’ve gone from being told Owen is dying from cancer to training for a marathon.

“When they told us Owen had Stage 4 incurable cancer it was like ripping the carpet from beneath us. But life is too short to be unhappy and we are making sure the time we all have together is as happy and memorable as we can make it.”

Our Chief Executive Deborah Gilbert thanked Ali and John for their support.  “Families like Owen’s shouldn’t have to go through this. That is why Bowel & Cancer Research exists. Their support will help us to fund the very best science, to find better diagnostics and treatments and to save lives in future.”

Support Ali and John's Ride