Football fans asked to March for Men again by Prostate Cancer UK
- Credit: Prostate Cancer UK
As the 2022-23 football season kicks off, Prostate Cancer UK have announced another series of epic marathon marches this September as the football community unites against the most common cancer in men.
The event returns to London on September 25 as, for a sixth time, the leading men’s health charity visits football hotbeds and iconic venues across the nation and calls on fans to join four 26.2-mile walks across Greater Manchester, the South Coast and West Midlands before the London finale.
Prostate cancer affects 1 in 8 men in the UK - thousands of dads, grandads, partners, brothers, uncles, sons and mates - and by taking part in a Football March and raising money, supporters will help fund lifesaving research into earlier prostate cancer diagnosis, better treatment and essential support services.
The Football March starts on Thursday September 22, where fans can make their way up the football pyramid by walking from National League Altrincham FC to the home of Premier League champions Manchester City. The Greater Manchester route also takes on League Two newcomers Stockport County, Salford City, not to mention a visit to Old Trafford, home of Manchester United.
The second day (Friday September 23) sees the march head to the South Coast for the first time, with a route between fierce rivals Portsmouth and Southampton. The road from Fratton Park to St Mary’s will also take in National League Eastleigh FC.
On Saturday, September 24 the walkers are in the West Midlands heading from Birmingham City to Wolverhampton Wanderers via Edgbaston Stadium, home of Warwickshire CCC, Aston Villa and Walsall.
London hosts the finale on Sunday, September 25 where AFC Wimbledon’s Cherry Red Records Stadium kicks off a day that will end at Millwall FC, long-time charity partner and the first club to wear the Prostate Cancer UK logo on their shirts in 2013/14.
The walkers will also stop off at Premier League newcomers Fulham, and there will be other high-profile club stops along the way.
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Since 2016, over 2,000 football fans, supporters and personalities have marched across the UK for Prostate Cancer UK, visiting more than 100 clubs and raising in excess of £1.6million.
Led by Sky Sports presenter Jeff Stelling, walkers marched from Hartlepool to Wembley in 2016; Exeter to Newcastle in 2017, and all four UK nations in four days in 2019. Last season’s amble saw marches join the Soccer Saturday host in the North East, Yorkshire, Merseyside and London.
Stelling said: ”Unbelievable. That’s how I’d describe Prostate Cancer UK’s football marches. It’s brilliant to see them continuing their football marching legacy later this year and I’d wholeheartedly recommend getting involved with this brilliant charity across four football hotbeds.
"Your feet might tell you differently on the day, but I promise you won’t regret it. It’s a terrific event with terrific people, and you’ll get to visit some great football clubs too. Plus you will be doing your bit to help beat prostate cancer.
"Sadly, other commitments mean I’ll be unable to walk this year, and although my feet will thank me, I’ll miss marching alongside so many inspiring people. I will be watching on from afar and wish everyone taking part the best of luck."
There are 38,269 men living with prostate cancer in London, including AFC Wimbledon supporter Kevin Webber, who has raised close to £1m for the charity since 2014 and regularly walked alongside Stelling in previous marches.
He added: "I’m really looking forward to joining another Football March, and it will be great to meet fellow football fans along the way.
"You’ll never take on an event quite like it. The mileage may seem daunting but the camaraderie along the way will sweep you along. You’ll laugh, cry, reminisce and celebrate, but believe me you’ll make memories to last a lifetime. You’ll also visit some amazing football clubs and get the chance to speak with some star names too.
"As a man with incurable prostate cancer I know first-hand what this disease can do to families and loved ones, and I’m forever grateful for everyone taking on these marches – and supporting Prostate Cancer UK in so many different ways. Your support will help them achieve their long-term ambitions of a better test and a screening programme, so that hopefully my boys will not have to go through what I have.
"I know how precious life is. People may say I’ve been dealt a bad hand, but I see it as the opposite. For me its about making the most of every day and I hope my story can inspire others to do the same. I’m so grateful to be on the start line and can’t wait to get going. See you there.”
Prostate Cancer UK Chief Executive Laura Kerby said: “Since 2016 our football-themed walks across the UK have seen supporters, clubs and football personalities unite brilliantly against the deadliest opponent of all, prostate cancer.
“One man dies every 45 minutes from prostate cancer; it’s the most common cancer in men. But everyone who has embraced these mega marches, including the brilliant Jeff Stelling, has allowed us to raise a game-changing sum of money and make massive progress in our goal to make this a disease that men and their families no longer fear.
“Football is a force for good, and plays a fantastic role in bringing people together for a common cause. I’ve heard so many stories, both inspirational and heart-breaking about the thousands that have joined us, and I’m looking forward to pulling my walking boots on this year.
“In Greater Manchester, on the South Coast, across the West Midlands and through London, we will continue to proudly walk side by side in our ultimate quest, to fund more groundbreaking research and work towards a screening programme, to catch prostate cancer early and save lives. Together, we can beat prostate cancer.”
Sign up for The Football March at prostatecanceruk.org/footballmarch