Jeff Stelling and Coach March South to Fight Cancer
Jeff Stelling’s Men United March finishes at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday
21st March 2016: to Hartlepool, for the first leg of Jeff Stelling’s daunting 260-mile walk on behalf of Prostate Cancer UK, which has been snaking its way south to Wembley over the past week. The route takes in a marathon a day, bouncing off every football ground it encounters in its path.
Day One, Step One was taken at Hartlepool’s Victoria Ground with “celebrity” walkers Ray Wilkins – sporting an immense pair of mittens – and Tony Blair’s former communications artiste Alastair Campbell joining the parade. Besides Coach, 50 or so other enthusiasts made up the “squad”, including one chap whose idea of warming up was running the 30-odd miles from Newcastle to Hartlepool.
The route passed along the Hartlepool seafront, out into the countryside and into Middlesbrough for lunch at the Riverside Stadium, where Coach missed a golden opportunity for a “Hello Cleveland!” tweet.
The spin doctor Campbell demolished the buffet before making his excuses, muttering something about “dinner at the embassy”, and the procession continued through some of the region’s grimmer industrial landscapes, including the immense Redcar steelworks, recently closed. The plant produced the steel for the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Tyne Bridge and a long, glorious etc, Coach was informed by a marching scaffolder, who had recently been made redundant from the plant, and who was walking in memory of his late wife. Indeed, many of the walkers were there because cancer had made itself unwelcome in the lives of loved ones.
Eventually, the rust gave way to the sand of a last couple of miles of dazzling coast and a brass band finish at Marske FC (Ebac Northern League, Div 1), delayed while our heroic leader shook every hand, attended to every selfie, charmingly answered every question. In Jeff Stelling, prostate cancer has a formidable opponent.
RECOMMENDED: Why Jeff Stelling is Walking 10 Marathons in 10 Days
What you Should Know About Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. In the UK, one in eight men will get it; among black men the number is one in four. It tends to target the over-50s, but at amy age it is much easier to treat if caught early. You can read about the symptoms at prostatecanceruk.org (opens in new tab). If you’re suspicious, don’t put off going to the doctor – let the professionals tell you if it’s nothing or not; don’t convince yourself it’s “something else”; and tell the most important person in your life – that way, you can be sure someone will make themselves enough of a pain that getting checked out is the least troublesome option.
Coach is proud to be a charity partner of Prostate Cancer UK (opens in new tab). Text “Jeff” to 70004 to donate £3 or visit MenUnitedMarch.org (opens in new tab) to give more
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Ed Needham was the founder and editor-in-chief of Coach magazine, a free health and fitness magazine published between 2015 and 2016. He now edits the magazine Strong Words.