In March 2016, Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling marched from his beloved Hartlepool United to Wembley Stadium for Prostate Cancer UK.The aim was to raise money to support the Official Charity Partner of the EFL and now, in 2017, Jeff is back. And March for Men is bigger and better than ever.
He’s walking 15 marathons in 15 days and visiting over 40 football clubs, starting at St James Park, the home of Exeter City. By the time he reaches Newcastle United’s St James’ Park on 16th June 2017, he will have walked almost 400 miles.
Last year, when Jeff and his good friend Russ Green (Hartlepool United’s CEO at the time) walked 10 marathons in 10 days, they visited 32 football clubs, clocking up 262 miles.
They were joined by more than 400 people across the event who all had a story to tell as to why they stood shoulder to shoulder with Jeff raising money to beat a disease which kills one man every hour in the UK.
“After the agony and ecstasy of the walk last year, particularly the agony, so many people have been in touch with me, people with stories of their battle against prostate cancer," Soccer Saturday’s front man, who will be kicking off his 2017 adventure on Friday 2nd June in Devon, said.
“It’s just inspirational and it’s inspired me to do something once again.”
While Jeff’s feet may be in agony already just thinking about the challenge ahead, his motivation is clear.
The people he met have inspired him to go much further than in 2016, and head to parts of the country that weren’t reached last year.
“There were too many stories to tell in truth. Every single one was inspirational. I’d be walking alongside people and saying ‘why are you here?’. And the person I’m talking to might say ‘I’ve been given six months to live’.
“They were spending their precious moments walking to support the battle against prostate cancer, so that other people in the future didn’t suffer in the way they were feeling right then. It was just inspiring individuals from start to finish."
And Jeff was joined not only by Russ and an army of fundraising marchers joining the fight for men everywhere. There were also many famous faces from the world of sport who came out on the road to Wembley, including his Soccer Saturday team Alan McInally, Ray Wilkins, Chris Kamara, along with Trevor Sinclair and Alistair Campbell.
But it was three days in after a difficult second leg from York to Leeds when a celebrity face was needed to give everyone a boost. Luckily for Jeff and the walkers, the godfather of marathon walking made a surprise visit on the second half of the journey to Glanford Park, the home of Scunthorpe United.
“Ian Botham turned up on a particularly, dreary, cold miserable day and lifted everyone’s spirits. We’re hoping all the people that came with us last year will come with us again – and more.
“There’s nothing like a chat with a celebrity to raise the spirits when you know you’ve got 26 miles ahead of you."
Jeff, Russ and the army of marchers raised £420,000 in 2016, and helped raise the problem of prostate cancer to millions of people across the UK.
If you walked last year, or you want to be part of the 2017 challenge, sign up for a leg of March for Men at the link below, and help stop prostate cancer being a killer.
Join Jeff on his March for Men by clicking here