Cyclists make it to Russia from Emsworth '“ just in time for first England World Cup game
THEY have cycled thousands of miles across half a dozen countries '“ and now two friends will be celebrating their achievement by watching England's first World Cup match in Russia.
Jamie Marriott and Mitchell Jones, from Emsworth, cycled from the village to Volgograd, in Russia, to catch Gareth Southgate’s men against Tunisia tonight.
The pair set off on May 25 and travelled 2,400 miles through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany and Poland before arriving in Russia via the Ukraine border.
Mitchell, 24, said: ‘It’s been a gruelling journey.
‘To begin with we were waking up at the crack of dawn and cycling east until way after dark.
‘But as the time passed we have both got much fitter and were travelling more than 100 miles in under 10 hours, including breaks.
‘The hardest part was getting back on the bikes every day and the pure boredom of the long and straight roads of the Ukraine and Russian plains.’
He added: ‘It’s feels good to be here, it feels good that we don’t have to get back on the bike and cycle again.
‘The fact that it’s the World Cup, the buzz hasn’t really set in quite yet.’
Mitchell said the hardest part of the trip was the first day but only because they decided to go out the night before.
‘The biggest problem we faced was the enormous hangovers we woke up with on the opening day,’ he said.
‘We thought it was a good idea to go out the day before, but we know for next time.’
The pair have been to most England games in the last six years, both home and away.
While Mitchell is only attending England’s first game tonight, 28-year-old Jamie is attending all three group matches.
He said: It’s the dream for every football fan to go to and experience the World Cup.
‘We both count ourselves exceedingly lucky to be in a position to live out the dreams of so many around the world.’
Jamie and Mitchell are raising money for the Bobby Moore Fund for Cancer Research UK, set up in memory of the England football legend.
Mitchell added: ‘My old youth team coach Brian Randall sadly passed away in January from cancer and we wanted to honour his memory.’
So far, the pair have raised more than £2,000.
To donate visit justgiving.com/fundraising/wembleytorussia