Stelling, meanwhile, will follow up his two mega marches from Hartlepool to Wembley, and Exeter to Newcastle, by pounding the pavements across the major metropoles of four nations and he is urging the public to pull on their walking boots to join him and support the charity in their quest to help stop prostate cancer being a killer.
Over 325,000 men are living with and after prostate cancer in England, and that figure is more than 38,000 in London, emphasising the need to raise awareness and funds.
“It’s three years since I started this life-saving journey at the gates of my club, Hartlepool United, but there is still so much work to do,” said Jeff, who regularly wears the Prostate Cancer UK Man of Men pin badge on Soccer Saturday, alongside former Arsenal stars Paul Merson and Charlie Nicholas.
“Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, with one man dying every 45 minutes from this disease. That’s unacceptable, and that’s why I’m walking again.
“It’s an indiscriminate disease, affecting men and their loved ones across the UK. I’ve walked alongside many of them and am proud to call some friends. Their reaction and positive outlook despite being dealt the toughest of hands is simply unbelievable. I’m marching for them – and everyone affected – in a bid to fund the research to change the game.
“That’s why I’m taking our walk across into all four home nations and would love the public to join me en route. I live in England and work in London but the wonderful work of Prostate Cancer UK stretches into Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales, so I will be pounding the pavements in four historic cities – and it wouldn’t be a football march without popping in on some iconic stadiums along the way.”
Not only will Stelling navigate 26 miles of walking on each day and trips to 16 new clubs, taking his three-walk tally to 89, but will also face the added challenge of transport connections, including two flights across the Irish Sea.
And, as ever, he wants company as he marches to a million, with walkers invited to join him across all four routes and help him reach his fundraising target. You can find out more via marchformen.org.
Jeff’s 100-plus mile March for Men kicks off in Glasgow, at Hampden Park, home of the Scottish national team, and the nation’s oldest club, Queens Park, in the morning of 5 September and also heads to city giants Rangers FC and Celtic FC before visiting Hamilton Academical and finishing at Motherwell FC.
He will then board a plane to Belfast that evening with Day Two starting at Northern Ireland Football League Premier League club Crusaders before culminating at Windsor Park, home of Linfield as well as the Northern Ireland national team. The Belfast route also visits Cliftonville FC and Glentoran FC.
After flying back across the Irish Sea, Saturday 7 September, sees him in Wales where he will head from League Two Newport County to Premier League Cardiff City and finish at the Principality Stadium.
A train into England will follow that evening before the final amble across London on 8 September, from West Ham United’s London Stadium to Charlton Athletic, Millwall FC, Arsenal FC and Tottenham Hotspur.
Stelling’s September stroll is part of the third March for Men campaign, another opportunity for the public to raise funds to fight this killer disease.
Now in its third year, Prostate Cancer UK’s March for Men series has grown bigger with ten organised walks including returns to Bristol, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Nottingham and new walks in Belfast, Birmingham and Cardiff. The family-friendly ambles are held over circa 2km, 5km and 10km and supporters are also encouraged to organise their own walks.
Prostate Cancer UK Chief Executive Angela Culhane, who has walked more than 130 miles alongside Stelling across the 2016 and 2017 March for Men events, said: “We’re thrilled that Jeff’s amazing journey will continue this year and are incredibly excited he will be spearheading our drive to raise awareness and funds for vital research across the four nations.
“By visiting Glasgow, Belfast, Cardiff and London and walking to some of the country’s iconic stadia alongside fans and people affected by prostate cancer, Jeff’s epic challenge will extend our footprint in football, and prove again the power that sport can have in breaking down barriers and shaping tangible change.
“The fight against prostate cancer, a disease that kills one man every 45 minutes, is a purpose worth uniting for, and we want to continue making strides to combat this disease. That’s why we’re so grateful to Jeff for dusting off his walking boots and plotting another ‘unbelievable’ adventure. Our March for Men walking programme is bigger and better than ever this year with 10 city marches in June, Jeff’s amazing four-day adventure and supporters continuing to organise their own walks, and we are urging people to get involved.
“We are constantly inspired by the incredible men, women and children who come out to support us, each with their own story and personal challenges to conquer. We will be proud to walk side by side with them and together we can add to the real momentum building in the fight against this disease. The vital next step is to fund more ground-breaking research and find the tools needed for a screening programme, in order to catch more prostate cancers early and save more lives.”
Many people are unaware that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It’s a huge issue that cannot be ignored. One man will die from prostate cancer every 45 minutes in the UK. That’s over 11,500 men a year.
To sign up and join Jeff or to find out more information about the March for Men programme go to marchformen.org.