As the football season comes to a close, Soccer Saturday stalwart Jeff Stelling will be swapping the Sky Sports studio for life on the road as he sets off on another marathon mission in aid of Prostate Cancer UK.
After last year’s unbelievable feat of trekking from his beloved Hartlepool to Wembley over ten days, Jeff is lacing up his boots again as he tackles 15 walking marathons in 15 days, taking in football grounds across the country – including one here in South Yorkshire.
Aiming to raise £500,000 for the leading men’s health charity, Jeff will be joined by famous friends and fellow pundits plus people living with or affected by prostate cancer.
They might never admit it, but some men can be a little guilty of putting their health on the back burner and brushing off illnesses with an ‘it’ll be reyt!’
While it may seem macho to keep the complaining to a minimum, ignoring more serious health problems because of embarrassment or not wanting to worry those around them is often detrimental.
One in eight men will develop prostate cancer, that’s almost three players on the football pitch. In Yorkshire, over 3,500 men are diagnosed each year. Symptoms such as urinating more often or discomfort and pain when going are often overlooked by men.
A champion for football thanks to his passion and commitment to the sport, Jeff will be channelling his competitive spirit into the walks, heading from one St James’ Park to another in a bid to raise funds to support those affected by prostate cancer.
To coincide with Men’s Health Week and Father’s Day, Jeff will take his first steps on this year’s marathon march on Friday 2nd June at Exeter City FC and will finish at Newcastle United two weeks later after visiting over 40 clubs.
Arriving at grounds from all tiers in the football league as well as non-league and amateur sides, the route sees Jeff head to the likes of Wellington AFC in the Western Football League, Kidderminster Harriers in the National League North, and Accrington Stanley – who are they?
There’ll be top flight derbies and rivalry throughout the fortnight as Jeff visits both sides of the city in Liverpool and Manchester.
Ahead of next season’s Steel City derbies, two football fans are setting aside their football rivalries to join Jeff on day 11 of the march, walking over 25 miles from Burnley FC, across the Pennine hills, through Hebden Bridge to Huddersfield Town FC on Monday 12th June.
The Wortley Arms’ Andy Gabbitas, a lifelong Owl, is joining Blade Aled Williams from High Green who also walked with Jeff last year.
With friends or family affected by the disease, Andy and Aled are hoping their joint efforts will help raise even more money than Aled’s final total of £1,200 last year.
“Ignoring prostate cancer won’t beat it. The Wortley Arms is a Men United pub and we regularly hold events to raise funds to support Prostate Cancer UK, including Aled’s monthly Pop Quiz,” Andy said.
On day 12, Tuesday 13th June, Jeff and the gang will be kicking off the day here in Barnsley at Oakwell as they travel through Yorkshire to Bradford, home of the Bantams.
Along with Jeff’s challenge, Prostate Cancer UK is also hosting three events for the national March for Men campaign over Father’s Day weekend. Closest to us is the mass march at Leeds’ Roundhay Park on Sunday 18th June, fronted by Emmerdale’s Gemma Oaten whose dad was diagnosed with stage three aggressive prostate cancer.
While hosting the popular sport programme since 1994, Jeff has also been keen to raise awareness and money for many different charities, completing the London Marathon eight times and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in 2013.
Last year’s march saw Jeff’s plight raise £420,000 for Prostate Cancer UK and he’s hoping to top that figure this year. To walk with Jeff, the public can apply to take on one of the 15 marathons for a £25 registration fee, with a minimum £300 sponsorship.
For more details about the March for Men or prostate cancer, visit their website