This week, Jeff Stelling talks to a chap who'll be running through the night to join him on the start-line, reminisces about his childhood with the Sunday Post and hints at political career beyond Soccer Saturday (or maybe not). Plus, three more celebs announce they'll be joining the walk: from Paul Merson and a host of fellow famous footballers to a Team GB Olympic athlete.
Hi! Welcome to the second of my weekly blogs. There’s now less than 5 weeks to go until I begin walking 10 marathons in 10 days for Prostate Cancer UK. The support has been incredible so far and the momentum is really picking up.
As the march gets nearer, I get more and more astounded by the support shown: 251 people have signed up to walk with me so far and we’ve now raised over £60,000. Huge thanks to each and every one of you!
People tell me I'm mad to attempt to walk 10 marathons in 10 days. But I'm as sane as the next man – especially when that man is Aaron Gourlay.
Aaron, who lives in Wingate in County Durham, is walking the first leg from Hartlepool to Marske. But to get to Victoria Park (Hartlepool United's home ground) in time for the start on 21 March, he's going to be running through the night from St James Park in Newcastle. And if you think that’s crackers, he's warming up with a 55-mile run on Saturday 19 March! Makes my feet sore just thinking about it.
I spoke to the Sunday Post in Scotland this week about the march and it brought memories flooding back. For years, when I was a kid, the Stelling household in Hartlepool took the Sunday Post every week. It meant I knew more about what was going on in Dundee or Ayr than I did about what was happening in England.
But it also introduced me to two of the greatest cartoon strips ever – Oor Willie and the Broons. I used to get their annuals every year in my Christmas stocking. To all Post readers can I just say: ‘Lang may yer lum reek’. They’ll know what I mean.
During the same interview I was asked if I had ever thought of going into politics. I have to admit I do enjoy the cut and thrust of political debate. And after all the years of keeping the Soccer Saturday panel in check, I think I could handle the role of Speaker with no problem. Order… order…there’s news of a goal at the Emirates…
The lovely Bianca Westwood tweeted about joining me on the march on Day 9. And just announced this week, Max Rushden and Paul Merson will also be joining myself and Bianca. Paul must love my company as he is also walking with me on Day 5 – better get training Merse!
I’ve got my work cut on Day 2, when Team GB's 20km Race Walker and three-times British Record holder, Tom Bosworth, joins me. I’ll be looking to Tom for some top tips on walking to get me through to day 10!
The former West Ham, Everton and Leicester striker, Tony Cottee, is the latest Soccer Saturday panelist to confirm he will join the walk. He just has to firm up which leg he will be doing. TC, as we all know him, is enjoying this season more than most with Leicester top of the Premier League and his beloved Hammers also flying high.
Like me, Tony is vertically challenged, making the walk twice as tough. With our (relatively) short legs, we will have to put in twice as many steps as the likes of former Wolves keeper Matt Murray, walking with me on Day 6. Still, as they say: one small step for TC, one giant leap for prostate cancer!
Speaking of short legs, Prostate Cancer UK supporters Terry Butcher and Viv Anderson recorded a video message for me – top banter, guys. We’ll see what you’re made of on your Football to Amsterdam cycle ride this June.
Thanks once again to my friend, Lorraine Kelly, who wrote this lovely piece about the march in her column last Saturday.
I’m delighted Carlsberg have signed up to support my march for Prostate Cancer UK. Having some of their colleagues joining the ranks on day 8 will be a great addition to our team. Good luck with your fundraising and I’ll see you on 28 March!
I’m so pleased everyone is noticing the Man of Men badge, as worn by all the Sky Sports Soccer Saturday team and, this five-year-old fan of mine, Samuel Salt of Brailsford, Derbyshire, now has his badge and – just like me – is wearing it with pride!
There’s still time to get involved. You can walk with me, donate or arrange your own fundraising event – visit menunitedmarch.org to find out more! Take a look at the dates and timings of the march here too.
Check back next Friday for my next blog!
All the best...
JeffSponsor jeff on his 262 mile march
A summer of fundraising walks ends with a terrific finale at Wembley Stadium, where Sir Geoff Hurst and Ray Clemence awarded medals to the hundreds who went the marathon-distance in our Football March for Men.