Long Run leads to a very long walk for racing ‘expert’ John Hanley

When you’re pretty sure your opinion’s right, rash promises sometimes come back to bite you.  A man in a Guildford pub might offer to eat his hat if proved wrong.  In Liverpool a bloke would probably say ‘I’ll show me arse in Woolies’ window’ (Woolworths is missed in more ways than one).

In leafy Cumbria they do things differently. Before this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup, BBC Radio Cumbria’s racing correspondent John Hanley promised on air to walk from Windermere to Carlisle if Long Run won it under the Amateur Sam Waley Cohen.

Barely four hours after Sam rode the horse to victory ahead of all-time greats Denman and Kauto Star, red-faced John was back live on air to keep his promise to walk the length of the Lake District – in aid of the Prostate Cancer Charity. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the UK – but activities like walking as well as a healthy diet and of course early diagnosis through check-ups can help prevent it.

So on September 14 this year, John will be setting off on foot from beautiful Windermere in Cumbria to head 60 miles north through mountainous Lakeland terrain over two days to Carlisle to raise money to fight prostate cancer. He’s putting together a team to help.

BBC TV snooker commentator and former world number three Neal Foulds will be with him every step of the way on the 2011 Windermere to Carlisle Walking the Walk charity event, along with Andy Richmond, a well-respected racing pro backer. Joining them will be James Phillips, sports presenter with BBC Radio Cumbria, on whose programme John made his brash promise and who took great pleasure in reminding him – and their listeners – of exactly what their racing “expert” had said.

Joe McNally, writer and racing fan, will join them to cover the event for readers of his steeplechasing.wordpress.com blog, (and for youtube viewers).

The charity venture is continuing to snowball, with the backing of the Prostate Cancer Charity and the BBC. Support has also come from two of the Lake District’s finest hotels – The Lowwood Hotel at Ambleside and the Hydro Hotel in Bowness. Carlisle Racecourse’s general manager Richard Clements has also agreed to welcome the walkers at the end – the track’s finishing post, with a reception provided for the foot-weary stumblers. They might even jump the last fence.

John said: “A promise is a promise, so there was no way I was going to back out of the walk, not when I’d said it publicly. But it’s incredible the way the whole thing has now grown into a big charity fund-raising event thanks to all the marvellous support we are receiving.

“BBC Radio Cumbria’s intrepid sports team of Paul Newton and James Phillips had stitched me up good and proper by recording my initial promise and they really caught me on the hop when they played it again – to a sniggering audience – when I came back on air after the race on Friday March 18.

“But if you talk the talk, you have to walk the walk, and to James’ credit, he will be joining me on the 60-mile hike from Windermere to the finishing post at Carlisle Racecourse, where the legendaryRed Rum was a winner. I’m really looking foward to it and to raising a lot of money for a great cause.”

Here are a few facts about prostate cancer:

  • One in nine men will get prostate cancer at any time
  • Currently a quarter of a million men are living with it.
  • It mainly affects men from the age of 50
  • The average age for a man to be diagnosed with it is 70-74
  • It can strike at any time and can grow slowly or  very quickly.

John added: “It is up to all of us to raise awareness and do something about prostate cancer. No one knows yet how to prevent it but a healthy diet and important changes to your lifestyle can help make a massive difference. Research into prostate cancer relies solely on funding and  we as men need to step up to the plate, and preferably not one with a roast dinner on”

If you want to help in any way, either by walking the walk or offering some help along the way or through sponsorship, then please contact John on at eyeontheball@btinternet.com.

Walking the Walk to beat prostate cancer

You can help by visiting their website, it’ll take the boys around 20 hours to walk ,it’ll take you around 2 minutes to  help out in any way you can and it means a lot to a lot of people.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.