Former professional footballer visits Oakwell halfway into epic journey!
Francis Benali is embarking on a second ‘Impossible Challenge’ in a bid to raise £1,000,000 for Cancer Research UK.
The former Southampton FC defender won the Just Giving Celebrity Fundraiser of the Year award in 2014 for his incredible feat of running to every Premier League ground in just three weeks!
Now he is aiming to eclipse that with an even tougher test – running and cycling to every Premier League AND every Championship stadium in just a fortnight!
It will mean running at least one marathon a day and riding a further 75 miles in order to complete the estimated 1500 miles on schedule.
Benali said: “People told me I was mad to even think of doing the first challenge – and they were right. I must be completely crazy now to try and push myself even further.
“I know it will be agony both physically and mentally but that torture is nothing compared to the pain felt by cancer sufferers and their families.”
Last time, Benali raised £265,433 – now he is aiming to get to a million to fund revolutionary new immunology treatment.
He added: “It is such a worthwhile cause that I really hope people will dig deep, just as they did last time. That support and generosity really kept me going and made it all worthwhile. Thank you to everyone who contributed then and to all those who donate now.”
Upon arriving at Oakwell at 2pm this afternoon, Francis had ticked off half of the 44 stadiums on his route. After running a marathon 26 miles to Elland Road, Leeds this morning, Benali has since cycled on to the home of Huddersfield Town FC and then here to Oakwell! He was in fine spirits considering, when he stopped for a chat with Paul Heckingbottom.
The Reds Head Coach was inspired by meeting Francis. He told us: “I’m staggered really. It’s quite unbelievable what he’s putting himself through once again, and for a terrific cause. It was inspirational to meet him and I was more than happy to donate to the charity. I wish him – on behalf of all at Barnsley Football Club – the very best of luck as he enters the second half of this courageous journey.”
You can donate via THIS
link. You can also follow @BenalisBigRace on Twitter and keep track of his progress.