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Interview: Jeff Stelling Reflects On His March So Far

Tue 29th Mar 2016 | Football Sponsorship

As Jeff Stelling enters the final day of his epic trek through England from Hartlepool to Wembley, fcbusiness Editor, Aaron Gourley caught up with the intrepid explorer as he made his way from St Albans to Watford on day 9 of his journey.

(AG) How’s the walk going Jeff? 

(JS) It’s going ok, well actually, it’s going better than ok. The first four days were absolute agony and then after that its been much better. I think my body has become accustomed to the physical exertion. Now there’s no real pain, just tiredness. 

I can image, they’re long days you’re out walking.

They are, yes. I think we done around 30 miles yesterday (day 8) so that was a long day. Today we’re doing something over 27 miles but we’ve had a few slightly shorter ones that have evened it out, but yes, they’ve been long.

But the weather has been quite reasonable for you over the duration, apart from yesterday, what with Storm Katie striking.

Yes, and this morning we had a half an hour hail storm.  But yes, it’s been ok. However, there was the day we were in Birmingham on day 6 and we had an hour of rain, and that was the first rain during the whole of the trip, unfortunately in that hour we got around six days worth of rain. It was an absolute monsoon. Yesterday we set off into what was the remains of Storm Katie but we were lucky as the worst of it passed during the night, but we still had a few hours of pretty torrential rain and gale force winds. 

So you’re on day 9 now are you looking forward to tomorrow (Wednesday) for the final walk to Wembley?

We’re on our way to Watford now, probably about 15km away but yes, it’s been a long few days but it’s also been inspirational. Whenever I’m feeling down or my legs are hurting or feet are sore and I talk to somebody and they tell about their battle with Prostate Cancer, whether it be a winning or losing battle, you feel humbled but inspired and motivated all in one so it’s been really worth it. The football clubs have been fantastic too. They’ve all rallied round; we’ve had great receptions, they’ve provided physios and we’ve picked up quite a lot of cheques from them along the way too. So it’s all been brilliant.

And over the course of this walk, your fundraising target has continued to grow and you’re now at nearly £300,000, you must be so proud of that?

That wasn’t the aim initially, the aim was just to raise awareness to what a real problem Prostate Cancer is, and when you should take advice from a Prostate Cancer UK consultant and the fundraising was a by-product of that. But it’s a very welcome by-product and the Just Giving page is over a quarter of a million now, we’ve got some corporate sponsorship and cheques to come in on top of that so we won’t be far off raising £300,000 which will be fantastic. 

So what’s been your favourite part of the whole experience so far? 

That’s a good question and I don’t know really as it’s hard to say one day has been better than another. But there was one moment that sticks in my mind that typifies what’s going on and it happened on the second day when we were in York. It was quite early and we turned a corner and there was a little boy and girl who couldn’t have been more than 6 and 4 years old. They each had their pocket money of £1 and they each pressed their pounds and also a bag of strawberry bon bon sweets into my hand which almost brought tears to my eyes. That was fantastic!

And there’s been great support like that throughout?

Yes, we’ve had van drivers pull up and drop money into the collection buckets, people have been coming up for a picture and then donating money so it’s been really fantastic. A lot of it has been rural or on tow paths where you don’t see so many people but whenever we do it’s been brilliant. They might have gone out of their way after hearing us on the radio or seen us on Sky Sports or just followed the tracker on the website. But it’s all been brilliant. 

Well Jeff, it was great to speak to you today and a pleasure to get to walk with you on the first day. I wish you the very best for your final stride up Wembley Way.

 

To donate to Prostate Cancer UK and support Jeff’s March. please visit: Just Giving

Image: Prostate Cancer UK (Facebook)


Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

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