It's been a demanding week on the road for Russ and Jeff but spirits were raised when the Pools squad surprised them during Sunday's walk.
I’m writing this at the end of another very long day as we completed Day Seven, making our way from Coventry City across to Leicester City – and it was probably the second-hardest one we’ve had.
I thought Day Two was bad when we did about 34 miles but we’ve covered about 32 on Sunday and much of that was across really testing terrain – we were even climbing fences at one point during a pretty horrendous morning session.
We had walked seven miles without a stop when we reached a place called Narborough on the outskirts of Leicester –and as we rounded the corner of the local pub which was our designated break point, we saw the Pools team coach with all the players and staff!
Needless to say it gave everyone a massive boost to see Higgy and the lads there – especially Jeff because we had kept it a complete secret from him and he had no idea they were there. In fact, when we went to the front of the pub to go in someone who was in on it told him “Go round the back, you’ve got muddy shoes on and can’t come in this way!”
He was pretty shocked to see all the players and staff there but it was a timely pick-me-up at the end of a truly horrendous morning. And to be fair, it kept us going because for the next hour all anyone spoke about was how good it was for the lads to take a detour off the motorway to meet us.
Fans from all over the country who had joined us on the walk couldn’t believe how much a tight-knit Club we were and that the team would do that, I think we have gained a lot of friends during the last week and long may that continue. It’s been great publicity for Pools and that’s helped us in raising the profile of Prostate Cancer UK.
It also helped having H’Angus the Monkey on the road with us. You know what he’s like – he’s full of beans and brimming with enthusiasm so he helped keep spirits raised as we made our way across to Leicester.
Once we had left the players we made the decision that we would prefer to walk a little longer than go across the same sort of terrain as the morning session. That meant a little re-routing had to be done and it pushed the mileage up and made it really hard – but that was probably better than repeating what had happened earlier in the day because I don’t think I would have coped.
I had been really struggling again at lunchtime and it was only the support of Jeff and the people around him as well as Jackie that kept me going. She has been absolutely immense over the last few days in keeping me going when the going has been tough. I was down but now I’m back and determined to get across the finish line.
When we finally reached Leicester we were thrilled to be met by their mascot Filbert the Fox, as well as City legend Alan Birchenall who gave us a signed shirt towards our fund-raising efforts.
There’s no time for rest, of course. We quickly boarded the minibus for Northampton and we’ll start out again from Sixfields on Monday morning, covering 35km towards MK Dons. We’ll keep going!
Good luck to the Pools team at Orient today – we’ll be keeping tabs on progress again and hopefully a positive result to lift the team in the table and lift the walkers at the same time.