In his latest exclusive blog for Prostate Cancer UK, Jeff Stelling looks forward to being reunited with the extraordinary Kevin Webber, meeting the Green family on the pitch at Exeter City, and pottering with former-England cricketer Dominic Cork in the Potteries.
There used to be an old expression that a year is a long time in football. I’m sure a few managers might disagree with that, but it's hard to believe this time last year I was about to set off on my first March for Prostate Cancer UK.
More than £420,000 and almost 365 days later, there’s now a little under 12 weeks to go until we kick off at St James Park, Exeter. And there's lots going on.
In Exeter I will be joined by the Green family. Three years ago, Rob Green was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer. But following surgery, he has thankfully made a full recovery.
Rob will be joining me on the starting line with his son, Dan (pictured above), Exeter City’s U18 coach, who proudly wears Prostate Cancer UK’s 'Man of Men' pin-badge on the touchline every week.
Exeter will also see me reunited with Kevin Webber (pictured below running), who joined me on the last leg to Wembley a year ago. This time he's walking all 15 days as part of an incredible journey he's taking in fighting the disease.
In November 2014, he was diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer and given two years to live. Since then, Kevin has defied his prognosis and gone on to run marathons – some of them more difficult than others.
He used last year’s March as a warm up to the epic 275km Marathon de Sables in the desert. So obviously this time, he's using the desert challenge as a warm up to walking 15 marathons in 15 days with me!
He’s raised over £50,000 for Prostate Cancer UK so far and he's not about to stop any time soon. Inspiring stuff.
Kevin works for the RBS group and has received amazing support from the organisation. He's recruiting hundreds of staff from across the country planning to join him at different stages on the March – each inspired to raise money to support him and other men affected by this dreadful disease.
When we were planning this year's route, I remember someone suggesting I might not fancy it. But with the June start date, hopefully the early mornings won’t be as bracing as last time.
And with some of the most passionate fans in the country behind me, I can't wait – especially Day 5 when my good mate, ex-cricketer and Stoke fan Dominic Cork is joining me (pictured above).
We walk from the Bet 365 stadium on to Vale Park, before finishing at Gresty Road on one of the – thankfully – shorter days at 21 miles.
If you’d like to potter around in the Potteries with myself, Dominic and lots of football fans, you’d be more than welcome. I know Dominic's got plenty up his sleeve to help promote the visit there, so watch this space.
Word of my March for Men has spread to the world of show business, where an award for hit BBC show Death in Paradise earned me some unexpected praise.
As president of the Television and Radio Industries Club, I was hosting their annual awards this week. When the winner for the top crime programme was announced, I was humbled to hear recipient Danny John-Jules using his acceptance speech to thank me for my efforts on behalf of the charity.
I should also be thanking Danny. Most of you will know him as the Cat in Red Dwarf. He has been a key campaigner in the charity’s Stronger Knowing More drive, aiming to make sure more black men are aware of their increased risk of prostate cancer. It's double the risk of other men.
Talking of hosting events, we’ve got a very exciting line up in London on the 8 May. I’ll be quizzing some incredibly successful sportsmen – Will Greenwood, David Gower – as well as Paul Merson on their careers and the hottest topics in sport.
Merse will undoubtedly have his views on Arsene Wenger and the travails of his former club, and he can also speak with authority about this year‘s March.
Having seen the south-to-north route, he’s already warned me that it will be tougher this year as we will be heading uphill!
If you can’t join me on the March but want to support, join us in London at the HAC on Monday 8 May and help us raise money to beat this disease.
And if you would like to sponsor me, visit my online fundraising page to make a donation.