It was the first leg of Jeff Stelling's epic 10-day walk to Wembley from Hartlepool and the Sky Sports legend set off in fine style, being craned over the Tees, receiving a hero's welcome at Middlesborough FC's Riverside stadium, and giving career advice to a teenaged wannabe TV presenter at Redcar...
From: Victoria Park, Hartlepool To: Marske-by-the-Sea
Distance walked: 26 miles Total marchers: 70+
8:00am After months of hard work and planning, it was amazing to see so many people at Hartlepool United's Victoria Park ground for the start of the March – even more so knowing we'd clocked £150k on our JustGiving page before a step had even been taken. Jeff spoke to several national press before departing the stadium, including the Sun.
8:30am Hartlepool United's CEO, Russ Green, set off "like Usain Bolt and will be paying for it later on," said Jeff. And from the looks of him, he did.
11:45am Jeff pushed the start button on the Tees Transporter Bridge, conducting an interview with Sky News as we craned slowly across the great river. That has to be a first even for this seasoned TV presenter.
12:15pm Middlesborough FC gave us a hero's reception and a fine lunch at their Riverside stadium. One of our more well-known marchers, and a die-hard Burnley fan, couldn't resist a little swipe at his Yorkshire rivals.
12:30pm Jeff had time to chat to fellow marchers Danny Bolton, his wife Tracy and their specialist nurse about Danny's advanced prostate cancer and their extraordinary voluntary work for Prostate Cancer UK. Read more of their story here.
1:00pm A Mercedes pulled up alongside the March and two random blokes gave us a bag of Prostate Cancer UK-branded toothbrushes. Needless to say, they weren't official merchandise! Pictures (and perhaps an explanation) to follow as soon as we have them.
5:00pm Jeff and Ray Wilkins pose for pictures with the brilliant Redcar Athletic junior football team. One player bent Jeff's ear for the next half-a-mile about how to become a sports presenter just like him. Watch out Soccer Saturday!
5:45pm Arriving at Marske Sports Club to a brass band playing the Proclaimers' 500 miles was amazing. The 20+ local schoolkids who turned up to welcome us even better.
6:10pm Receiving his first warm-down massage of the March, Jeff admitted he felt tired but was inspired by the people who he'd walked with and met along the way. Members of the public had just come up to him and and given money out of their pockets. "I'm glad it's over, but it has been fantastic," he said before remembering the 29 miles we have to do tomorrow!
Overheard on the hoof: "I knew I recognised you from somewhere. Didn't we work together on the radio?" (Jeff to Stockton North's MP and former Radio Tees colleague, Alex Cunningham).
Celebs spotted: Alistair Campbell, Russ Green, Ray Wilkins, Craig Hignett, Alex Cunningham MP.
Marchers of the day: Danny Bolton and Tracy Fletcher: “I want to tell Jeff a million things. He’s changing what people think and know about prostate cancer.”
Please donate to Jeff's gargantuan fundraising effort and help us smash our £200k target.