Our March for Men will not be any jolly
TEN marathons in ten days – it seemed a good idea at the time. On Monday, March 21, I’ll be setting off from my club Hartlepool United and walking more than 250 miles to Wembley Stadium. Prostate Cancer UK offered me a couple of glamorous alternatives: walking the Great Wall of China or taking on the Inca Trail.
I thought, ‘Ah no, it sounds like a jolly.You need something that looks like it is tough’. I probably didn’t realise just quite how tough it would be.
I’ve run eight marathons all told. The other day I went for a long walk and I did about 13 miles in four hours. Normally, after four hours of a marathon, I’d have finished or very nearly. Now, I’m only halfway through!
But I’m reasonably fit and I’m hoping the company I will have along the way from various explayers, current managers and fans will help the time pass.
My good friend Russ Green, the chief executive of Hartlepool United, is walking the whole way with me.
The Soccer Saturday boys are all joining in at various stages.
Paul Merson is doing a couple of legs, Charlie Nicholas is doing one and Matt Murray and Matt Le Tissier will be out on the pavements, too.
He has just come back from a two-week cruise in the Caribbean – the most walking he did there was from buffet to buffet. So, we shall see how ready they are.
Ray Wilkins is doing the first two legs with us, while Nigel Adkins, Dean Smith and Bianca Westwood are all getting involved as well.
It’s a cliché but the football family have really pulled together and all 31 clubs we’re visiting along the way have been so supportive. As have sponsors Carlsberg.
Really, I’m in a very privileged position to be doing something like this. It wasn’t until I started talking to Prostate Cancer UK that I realised what a big killer the disease is.
One in eight men will get it and one person dies from it every hour. In a way, it’s a silent killer. Men are reluctant to go to the doctor as it is. If it’s anything below the waist, forget about it.
But, if you go to a Football League ground now and look at the fans behind a goal, there might be 2,000 people stood there. Work out how many will get prostate cancer in their lifetime – it’s a scary thought.
People think about it as just a men’s disease but of course it’s not. It affects mums, wives and daughters as well.
Initially this challenge was to raise awareness, but it seems to have caught the imagination and we’re rapidly heading towards £100,000 in sponsorship. So it’s a double whammy hopefully. Raise awareness as well as a tidy amount of money. The charity have just launched a campaign called Ten Years to Tame Prostate Cancer. They’re trying to put themselves out of a job. I’m just concentrating on mine for now.