Pools legend Ritchie Humphreys is set to take on the London Marathon later this month in a bid to raise vital funds for the mental health charity Mind.
Humphreys, who played a record 543 games for Pools between 2001 and 2013, will be back at The Super 6 Stadium on Friday as a guest of the Club for our game against FC Halifax Town.
Since hanging up his boots after making some 738 senior appearances, he has switched his focus to a passion for charity fundraising and campaigning around mental health in football.
His time as Chairman of the PFA, and his current role as an Executive for the organisation, has meant he has been well-placed to show his support for players' mental health.
Research carried out by the PFA suggests that 438 current and former professionals accessed therapy during 2018 which is an increase of almost 300 on figures from just two years ago so it's clear that there has been no better time to champion the cause.
“I wanted to take on this challenge to raise awareness of mental health and mental health in football, the industry I have worked in since I was 16-years-old,” explained Humphreys.
The Sheffield-born star has been taking his training seriously too – even interrupting a recent family holiday in Florida to take part in the famed Star Wars Rival Run, an early-morning half marathon at Disney World.
“The preparation definitely hasn't been easy, especially after an initial setback of a calf injury!” he revealed.
“But I know I am doing this for a really good cause so that helps me get through the training and will hopefully see me fighting fit on the start line.”
The London Marathon takes place on Sunday 28th April and all money raised will find the vital support Mind gives through its Infoline, local Minds and sports programmes across the country.