The serene countryside between Doncaster and Scunthorpe held a few surprises for Jeff Stelling and his marchers, who were flanked by cheeky club mascots Donny Dog and Scunny Bunny throughout. When Ian Botham decided to make an unexpected appearance halfway along the route, it was guaranteed to be yet another special day on this extraordinary journey.

Doncaster Stadium
24 Mar 2016

From: Doncaster Rovers  To: Scunthorpe United
Distance walked: 25 miles  Total marchers: 20

8am After last night's festivities at Elland Road (Kammy found a second wind at the bar), it was a calmer scene that greeted us and Jeff at Doncaster Rover's Keepmoat stadium. That gave some of our marchers the opportunity to tell the media their inspirational stories about living with prostate cancer, including father and son Alan and Mark Sterling.


9am Shortly after setting off, we had the unique experience of finishing the final furlong of Doncaster racecourse out of the saddle and on foot. Jeff took a canter at one of the hedges, looking for all the world like he was going to jump it. Fortunately, he pulled up short before a shotgun-necessitating incident could occur.

Jeff jumping the fence at Doncaster

10am Beyond Doncaster town limits, endless level fields were livened up by the company of club mascots Donny Dog and Scunny Bunny. They attracted honking horns from passing cars every few minutes and raised plenty of change in the buckets that they stoically carried throughout.

Scunny Bunny, Russ and Donny Dog

1:20pm The Reindeer Inn hove into sight at Sandtoft for a well-earned lunch-stop. But who was this waiting for us in the carpark? Jeff had no idea until he stood almost toe-to-toe with the sports kit-clad figure. "Hello pal!" he suddenly exclaimed as none other than Ian Botham warmly shook his hand. If anybody could empathise with Jeff's current plight, it was this legendary long-distance charity walker. And Jeff was feeling the miles, baring his chafed feet while he spoke to the cameras.

4pm Everyone felt buoyed by having Beefy in our midst, as well as his little dog Pinot (all his dogs are named after wines, he told us). The meeting of two sporting national treasures on the trail attracted a stream of high-profile media interviews on our route into Scunthorpe. Jeff was full of beans once again, calling it his best afternoon yet.

5pm But there was still one more surprise to come with the sudden appearance of Scunthorpe United manager, Graham Alexander. It was his first day in the job apparently, and his first official task as manager was to escort Jeff and Beefy the last 500 yards to Glanford Park. He'll never encounter such intimidating egos in the dressing room, surely? 

5:25pm Donny and Scunny had a mascot race to the finish-line (nobody dares call a winner) in front of the Humberside fire service, who had turned out in force to welcome us and sounded the horn of their magnificent, Prostate Cancer UK-branded fire engine. It was a terrific end to a brilliant day's walking, with the icing on the cake being a £3.5k cheque presented by Scunthorpe United's owner, Peter Swann, from the winnings of his horse called, fittingly enough, Men United. Roll on Rotherham tomorrow!


Overheard on the hoof: "Once you get past the halfway point, you can see light at the end of the tunnel." (Ian Botham's wizened words of experience for Jeff.)

Celebs spotted: Ian Botham, Graham Alexander, Russ Green, Peter and Karin Swann, Scunny Bunny, Donny Dog.

Marcher of the day: Hugh Steven. "I’d say to any man out there who feels there may be something wrong with their body: swallow your pride and visit your GP."

Please donate to Jeff's gargantuan fundraising effort and help us smash our £200k target.

Read this next:

Men United March Diary - Day 2

23 Mar 2016

The longest day of the March from York to Leeds eventually took its toll, but the constant chirpiness of Chris 'Kammy' Kamara and the cheery support of Tadcaster's locals spurred our walkers on. From honorary sausages to Olympian VIPs, it was another memorable leg with lots of money raised.

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