Champion athlete to escort fundraiser on European trek

BRENDAN Foster may have just stepped down as the voice of BBC Sport after 37 years, but the champion athlete-turned-cherished commentator has no immediate plans to put his feet up.

The former European 5,000m and Commonwealth 10,000m gold medallist is set to join Wooden Spoon Sussex supporter Richard Tibbott for a fortnight of his sponsored five-week, 800km trek over the French Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain.

Brendan, who was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year in 1974, will link up with the fundraiser on Spanish soil for the final leg of the “Camino” walk in the coming weeks.

The founder of The Great North Run will not be Richard’s only athletic company – the children’s charity of rugby member will be joined for the duration of the trek by his old Loughborough University friend John Caine.

A former GB long-distance runner, John medalled at the 1970 Edinburgh Commonwealth Games in the 10,000 metres.

The first leg of the epic escapade will also see the walker joined by Wooden Spoon Sussex committee member Alan Jenkins and his wife Elaine, who will accompany Richard from St Jean Pied de Port in France to Pamplona in Spain.

Pictured from left to right: John, Richard, Elaine and Alan during a training walk on the South Downs Way

“Our walk is shorter [than Richard and John’s], but it is across the Pyrenees and pretty arduous,” Alan said. “For a group who are all in our 60s and 70s, the walk is a challenge in itself, but the other challenge is the fundraising.”

The adventurers are hoping their endeavours will raise in excess of £20,000, which will be split between Wooden Spoon and Pancreatic Cancer UK.

Alan added: “Richard and I have both lost close relatives to pancreatic cancer – his wife and my brother – and we are all involved in Wooden Spoon Sussex, which is why the funds we raise will go to continuing the great work of both charities.”

You can find out more about the walk on page 21 of the current edition of Spoonews and donate by clicking here.