A charity director is joining Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stellling on his marathon fundraising challenge across the country.
Prostate Cancer UK’s Director of Research, Iain Frame, of Ivinghoe Aston is dusting off his walking boots to join the intrepid TV host on two legs of the journey.
Jeff is aiming to complete 10 marathons in 10 days, from boyhood club Hartlepool United to Wembley between March 21-30 in aid of Prostate Cancer UK.
And Iain, 55, will join Jeff twice during the 262-mile Men United March, taking on the second leg from York to Leeds on Tuesday, March 22 and then rejoining the Sky Sports star on the penultimate day, March 29, from Luton to Watford.
And if his fundraising pot reaches £2,500, Iain has pledged to complete a hat-trick of marathons.
Jeff’s challenge (menunitedmarch.org) will see him check in on 32 football clubs and he will be joined every step of the way by close friend, and Hartlepool United chief executive, Russ Green.
Iain, a keen walker who has previously walked 97 miles across the Ridgeway, said: “My job as Director of Research depends solely on remarkable people doing remarkable things – like Jeff.
“Without that help I couldn’t do what I love best about being here - funding ground-breaking research projects that will really make that difference to men.
“Our strategy is quite simple: find out who is most at risk of the disease; find out how we can tell the difference between aggressive and non-aggressive prostate cancers at diagnosis and discover new and improved treatments for advanced prostate cancer.
“I would add to that we are keeping a close eye on how to prevent prostate cancer occurring in the first place and coming back after treatment. Not easy, but I took on this job knowing that, with decent funding, research can find those answers and improve the lives of men with prostate cancer and their families.”
Iain, who will be joined by wife Catriona and two close friends for the Luton to Watford leg, added: “I’ve set an initial target of £1,500 for the two walks but have promised Jeff that if I reach £2,500 I will do a third marathon walk with him from Northampton to Milton Keynes.
“I am looking forward to the challenge, and I’m delighted to be raising awareness and much needed money to help the fight against prostate cancer.”
En-route, Jeff will be joined by famous friends and colleagues and people affected by prostate cancer while Carlsberg have signed up as a supporting sponsor.
Jeff launched the Men United March live on Soccer Saturday in January, at the end of a first person piece on the fortunes of his beloved Hartlepool, the first time he has ever filed a report for the show.
He said: “I deal in statistics – but the ones we are dealing with here are shocking. One man dies every hour from this disease, that’s six in the course of Soccer Saturday every week. One in eight men will get prostate cancer, and for black men the odds are even worse at one in four.
“Prostate cancer is not discerning. It doesn’t just hit the bad guys; it’s the good guys as well. I’ve got friends such as Sky Sports rugby league colleagues Bill Arthur and Eddie Hemmings who I have known longer than I care to remember. Both are great guys who have been affected by prostate cancer and I’ll be meeting more men like them along the way.
“That’s why I’ve signed up for this challenge. I’ve run marathons and climbed Kilimanjaro. There were also some nice fundraising opportunities to go and walk on the Great Wall of China or maybe go to Peru, but they sounded too much like jollies to me.
“ I wanted to do something where people could see I was feeling the pain on behalf of a fantastic cause.
“Within the next ten years Prostate Cancer UK believes they will find the answers to make this disease something men and their loved ones no longer fear. I’ve met the scientists who pledge to do this and I can see how dedicated they are.
“But do to this we need to raise vital funds – and I need everyone to support me and all the men affected by prostate cancer by visiting menunitedmarch.org and pledging their support.”
Prostate Cancer UK is the Official Charity Partner of The Football League and 25 clubs are represented along the route, through the heartlands of England.
Stelling will also stop off at five Premier League clubs as well as Non-League side St Albans City and Marske United before an emotional finale along Wembley Way on March 30.
Both Iain and Angela Culhane, Chief Executive of Prostate Cancer UK, are among the seven-strong ‘Stelling Steppers’ representing the charity.
And Culhane, who will be walking from Rotherham to Chesterfield on Day Four, and said: “We’re delighted to be joining Jeff on this epic challenge. Together, the marchers will raise vital funds and awareness for Prostate Cancer UK.
“Jeff’s been a huge supporter of ours for many years, and has seen first hand the dangers of this disease through some of his closest friends in the business. We are fully behind Jeff, and all the marchers who are getting involved.
“This challenge is once again a perfect example of what we call Men United; people getting together and doing something great to beat prostate cancer. On behalf of everyone affected by this disease I say thanks, and in the words of his long-time colleague Chris Kamara, it’s ‘Unbelievable Jeff’.”
To sponsor Iain – and boost his hopes of walking for a third day - visit justgiving.com/Iain-Frame/.
You can also get behind Jeff and Men United by visiting menunitedmarch.org