The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By John Lyons

JEFF Stelling is over half­way through his gru­elling 262-mile walk from Hartle­pool United to Wem­b­ley Sta­dium to help beat prostate cancer – and get­ting closer to the long­est bath in the his­tory of the world!

Sky’s Soc­cer Satur­day pre­sen­ter set out on the first of his ten marathons in ten days last Mon­day.

When The FLP caught up with him on Good Fri­day, Stelling was on his way to Not­ting­ham, al­most at the mid-point of his amaz­ing jour­ney.

“I was on my knees for the first two days,” he said.“But today is the first time I’ve felt com­fort­able and not in too much pain. Some peo­ple told me be­fore­hand that when you get into the meat of it, your body read­justs and knows what’s com­ing – an­other 60,000 steps today!”

But when the go­ing has got tough, the sup­port of the football com­mu­nity and the general pub­lic has lifted him.

“I’ve had fan­tas­tic TLC from phys­ios at Not­ting­ham For­est, Leeds and Ch­ester­field and the football clubs have been fan­tas­tic.We’ve had big cheques at York City, Scun­thorpe United and Sh­effield United. I’ve had lit­tle girls giv­ing me their one pound pocket money and check­out girls leav­ing their tills and giv­ing do­na­tions.The sup­port has been ab­so­lutely bril­liant.”

Stelling’s Soc­cer Satur­day col­leagues like Paul Mer­son, Matt Le Tissier and Char­lie Ni­cholas are also join­ing him on dif­fer­ent legs of the walk.

Speak­ing on Fri­day, Mer­son said:“My an­kle is a bit sore, but I’ve still got plenty left in the tank and Jeff’s do­ing re­ally well.You can’t not join in with some­thing like this and I’m look­ing for­ward to go­ing home this evening and hav­ing a well-earned sher­bet.”

The char­ity walk has re­ally caught the pub­lic imag­i­na­tion. Stelling’s ini­tial £100,000 tar­get has been oblit­er­ated. More than £200,000 had been raised by Fri­day and the new tar­get of £300,000 doesn’t ap­pear out of reach.

Now all it needs is for Stelling to power on to the fin­ish at Wem­b­ley Sta­dium on Wed­nes­day.

“Un­less I fall in the Trent, I’ll make it,” quipped Stelling.“I’m look­ing for­ward to see­ing my fam­ily, hav­ing the long­est bath in the his­tory of the world and a nice beer. I’ll also want to put my feet up and not have to think that I’ve got to walk 26 miles the next day!”

Sup­port Jeff or get in­volved by vis­it­ing­nunit­ed­ or text ‘JEFF’ to 70004 to do­nate £3.

DIG­GING IN: Jeff Stelling, right, and ex-Derby star Archie Gem­mill

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