AFC Portchester veteran footballers complete 24-hour cancer charity relay run

A group of friends who all play in the same veterans football team have completed a 24-hour relay run for charity.

By Simon Carter
Monday, 16th May 2022, 11:18 am

Eight members of the AFC Portchester vets squad ran a total of 304 miles, starting at 10am last Saturday, to raise money for the Friends Fighting Cancer charity.

Pete Sanderson, 38, who came up with the idea of the sponsored run, clocked up the most miles - 53 in his 11 hours of running.

Second was the oldest member of the relay running squad, 43-year-old Phil Jeynes, with 47 miles in nine hours.

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Members of the AFC Portchester vets football team finish their 24-hour relay run (from left) Keith McIntyre, Simon Hore, Phil Jeynes, Peter Sanderson, Keith Ashton, Mike Counsell and Dan Mortimer. Picture: Sam Stephenson.

Keith Ashton , 42,defied a knee injury to rack up 43 miles in eight and a half hours, while Keith McIntyre (age 42, 41 miles), Mike Counsell (37, 38), Dan Mortimer (41, 34) and Simon Hore (37, 30) all contributed to the overall total. Prior to the event, Hore had never run more than a 5k in one day.

Only those seven were supposed to be taking part in the 24-hour relay, but Lee Jones - who only turned up to watch and lend support - ended up running for six hours, clocking up 28 miles! ‘We called him the eighth wonder of the world!’ quipped Sanderson.

So far, around £4,000 has been raised for FFC via the relay, which was the fifth charity event Sanderson has been involved in since spring 2020.

Not long after the first national lockdown was imposed, he completed the marathon distance by running up and down the road where he lives, raising money for AFC Portchester’s youth football teams.

Some of the relay runners embrace after crossing the finishing line. Picture: Sam Stephenson.

Along with friend Warren Chebby, Sanderson later ran a 5k every day for a month in November 2020, raising cash for the Portchester Food Pantry which had been set up at the town’s football club during the first lockdown.

In March 2021, Sanderson roped in some of his Portchester vets colleagues for his third challenge - running as many miles as possible in the month, again for the Food Pantry. He personally ran over 200 miles.

That was followed by a 12-hour running challenge, during which Sanderson - who ran alongside Ashton - clocked up the same mileage - 53 - as during the weekend 24-hour event.

In addition, he ran a 10k every day last November. ‘I didn’t want to ask people for any more money,’ he recalled. ‘I just did it to raise awareness of the charities we have supported. I just asked if anyone fancied making a donation or helping out.

The relay runners are clapped to the finishing line. Picture: Sam Stephenson.

‘What’s next? I think the others have blocked my number now! They said if anyone sees the words ‘Pete is typing …’ in the WhatsApp group to switch their phones off!

‘I think the next one will be challenges that we’re afraid to do. For me, I don’t like heights so it could be something to do with that - facing up to our fears. Give the legs a chance to ease up!’

Regarding the 24-hour relay – where there were at least two people running at any one time - Sanderson paid tribute to the ‘absolutely astonishing’ achievement of Ashton, who ran with a knee injury. ‘We didn’t think he would be able to take part. For him to do as many miles as he did for charity was just amazing.’

AFC Portchester vets play in Division 2 the Meon Valley Sunday League.

The runners are clapped to the finishing line Picture: Sam Stephenson.

*To donate to the 24-hour relay run fundraiser, visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/afc24hrelay

The runners are clapped to the finishing line. Picture: Sam Stephenson.
Relay runner Mike Counsell with daughter Edith after crossing the finishing line. Picture: Sam Stephenson.