With his March for Men less than 24 hours away, Jeff Stelling's final exclusive blog for Prostate Cancer UK finds the Soccer Saturday presenter in bouyant mood ahead of his 400-mile football pilgrimage from Exeter to Newcastle over 15 days. Not even an early attack of blisters can dampen his excitement.

1 Jun 2017

It’s official! We’ve raised more than half-a-million pounds since I’ve been marching for men.

Sponsor Jeff

With entrants for this year’s epic walk from Exeter City to Newcastle United now over 600, that monetary figure will only rise as we continue our quest to stop prostate cancer being a killer.

Of course, Exeter is now the epicentre of British sport. Well done to Exeter Chiefs for winning rugby union's Premiership for the first time ever. Commiserations, though, to City for missing out in the play-off final against Blackpool – another of our stops along the route.

Can we get a list of chiropodists open all hours, please?

So there are 15 marathons ahead in 15 days and – guess what? Yep, I’ve already got blisters on my blisters in training. Can we get a list of chiropodists open all hours, please?

My sons, Robbie and Matt, are walking the opening leg – I think just to make sure I go. Half-term is much more fun when Dad is not around to lay down the law.

The money raised will be invaluable, as Prostate Cancer UK continue their mission to tame this disease within a decade. Through shifting the science over the next ten years to focus on major improvements in diagnosis, treatment, prevention, and support, we can make prostate cancer a disease the next generation of men need not fear. That’s what I’ll be keeping in mind when my feet start hurting again.

Jeff on a lab visit

I’ve seen the charity’s researchers in action and it’s amazing to see the progress they are making already. When I visited one of the charity’s research centres in Newcastle [pictured above], I was blown away by the amazing dedication of the people in the labs fighting – with Prostate Cancer UK’s help – to tame this disease.

Prostate cancer cells are darned awkward little so and sos. They keep coming back in different forms and become resistant to all sorts of treatments, which is what makes it so complicated to assess what is the best treatment for each man with prostate cancer.

There’s also a big group of great researchers who are focused on finding a more sophisticated way of diagnosing prostate cancer in the first place. Some men aren’t sure about the testing at the moment, and maybe that stops people actually going to see their doctors. We need to change that philosophy.

That, and hearing the stories of men and their families touched by prostate cancer, is what will help us all put our best feet forward over the course of the 15 days of the March.

Walking a marathon is a lot harder than it seems, but it’s also a great way to keep fit and spend time with loved ones and friends, old and new.

I’m looking forward to meeting even more people on the route from Exeter to Newcastle, but if you can’t get join me on the march, there other ways you can help.

Walking takes centre stage for Prostate Cancer UK in 2017 as the charity hopes to make big strides raising money, awareness and visibility of a disease that for too long has been ignored and overshadowed by other types of cancer.

In 2017, we’re asking anyone affected by prostate cancer to take small steps and together make one giant leap for men’s lives. So, hot on the heels of my stroll, thousands more people who have been affected by prostate cancer will March for Men in fun-filled organised events in London, Glasgow and Leeds this Father’s day weekend

You could organise your own marches, too: we have football fans already organising club to club walks which is fantastic. And Kevin Webber, who is joining me for the 15-day duration, has raised more than £20,000 from his recent march in London.

He’s raised an incredible amount for the cause over the last two years. So myself, Kevin and everyone signed up to walk is helping to raise £1 million through walking in 2017. This money will have a huge impact on the lives of those affected by prostate cancer and will help bring us one step closer to stopping prostate cancer being a killer.

Sponsor my March for Men

Preparations gather apace for the kick off in Exeter and I’m delighted to have the support of some star power backing me up and down the country. If you can’t walk but live on the route, come out and say hello to me and the people walking with me.

Former Leeds, Manchester City and England defender Danny Mills will be meeting me up at Harrogate, Amir Khan will join me in Bolton, and my Sky colleague Jamie Carragher will make the short trip from Liverpool to Everton at the end of Day 7 – one of the biggest days of the March. Plus my pals from Soccer Saturday, Le Tiss (Day 3), Thommo and Charlie (Day 6), Kammy (Day 12) and Merse will be there too.

I’m immensely grateful for the messages of support arriving, including from Lorraine Kelly and Freddie Flintoff

We’re also hoping to march with LMA members Sean Dyche (Day 11) and Paul Jewell (Day 12), the Stoke City boys from 72, including legendary goalkeeper Gordon Banks, not to mention old friends Denis Law and Mike Summerbee, who will reuniting at the Etihad on Day 7. We’ll have Dewi Morris, Kevin Sinfield and Bill Arthur from the rugby community joining us too, and massive Stokie Dominic Cork from cricket too. I’m also immensely grateful for the messages of support arriving, including those from Lorraine Kelly and Freddie Flintoff.

I was in Leeds this week to visit the team at SkyBet. CEO Richard Flint stunned me with a cheque for £10,000! And my pal, Dale Tempest, offered me a £200 free bet every day of the walk. The stake is returned with any winnings, so look out for lots of 1/5 chances (return £240!!) from me. It's betting better as Sky Bet would say.

Right, I’m off to pack my case for the journey to Exeter and get game-ready. Corn plasters, blister plasters, Vaseline, Sudocream, sun-tan lotion – I’m like a walking chemist's shop.  

Remember you can join me on a day of my march here or you can sponsor me on my online fundraising page.

Wish me luck and say hello if I’m in your neck of the woods over the next couple of weeks: we need all the support we can get to beat this rotten disease.

Sponsor Jeff

Read this next:

All arrows head north as Team Darts joins Jeff on the March

28 Apr 2017

In his latest exclusive blog for Prostate Cancer UK, Jeff Stelling welcomes news of the darts community getting behind the cause with a look back to a blunder on his first commentating job, and looks forward to meeting Dominic Cork after his recent educational visit to Mark Hughes and Stoke City.

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