Jeff Stelling looks forward to Hartlepool homecoming

Jeff Stelling.
Jeff Stelling.

Jeff Stelling is nearing the end of the road on his marathon march for Prostate Cancer UK and today is looking forward to returning to his beloved Hartlepool United.

He is raising awareness and money to help beat the disease that affects one in eight men across the UK.

The March for Men group at Kidderminster Harriers.

The March for Men group at Kidderminster Harriers.

The life-long Poolie is due at the re-named Victoria Park this evening and is hoping to be welcomed by lots of supporters.

Jeff is due to finish his challenge on Friday at Newcastle United’s St James’s Park after racking up a staggering 400 miles in just 15 days.

He said: “The carrot to get me to the end of the day is the fact that I’m finishing in Hartlepool.

“I think I’m performing the naming of the ground. It will be very good to be back.

“Last time I started from there so it is nice to know this time I will have only one more day to go.”

Jeff described the sponsorship deal with Hartlepool energy consultancy Utility Alliance, which will see the ground revert to Victoria Park, as “a great move”.

Jeff spent yesterday on a tour of non-league clubs as he and the team worked their way up through stunning Yorkshire countryside.

But he was feeling the heat as temperatures soared.

Among those from the footballing world walking alongside Jeff was Preston North End manager Simon Greyson and Match of the Day pundit Danny Mills.

Jeff said he has been buoyed by between 30 and 100 supporters every day.

“I couldn’t do it myself,” he said. “If I can have a conversation with someone for 15 or 20 minutes there is another mile gone.

“I have had fantastic support. The public have been great. I have had a woman offer to give me £100 for a selfie.

“Last night in Bradford a homeless man actually gave us some of the money he had.”

Jeff has also been touched and inspired by countless personal stories from people about how prostate cancer had affected them.

He said: “Most of the people who have joined me have been recovering from prostate cancer or know someone who has it.

“Today I was joined by two people who have terminal prostate cancer.”

According to the walk’s website, Jeff’s efforts have so far helped to raise almost £240,000.

That is in addition to the £500,000 raised last year by walking 10 marathons in 10 days.

Despite the scale of the task, Jeff sad he is bearing up well.

“It has been mentally tougher,” he said. “After 10 days last time I was having a beer, putting my feet up and looking forward to a nice rest but this time I still had five days to go.

“Physically, it has been easier. I think I knew what to expect a bit more and that’s been a big help.”

Jeff is due to arrive at Victoria Park at around 6pm on Thursday.

To sponsor him, visit https://prostatecanceruk.org/get-involved/march-for-men