Vernon Kay’s Epic Journey: A Heartwarming Ultramarathon for Children in Need

In a display of sheer determination and goodwill, radio presenter and TV broadcaster Vernon Kay has embarked on a remarkable 115-mile trek from Victoria Park in Leicester to the hallowed grounds of Bolton Wanderers’ football stadium, his hometown. This extraordinary feat is not just a personal challenge for Vernon but a passionate endeavor to raise funds for this year’s Children in Need.

The Unlikely Sidekick: Steel from the Gladiators Reboot

To add a touch of excitement to his ultramarathon, Vernon is joined by Steel, a character from the newly rebooted Gladiator series. As they navigate the streets, the generosity of onlookers is evident, with people donating as the dynamic duo passes by. However, Vernon humorously notes that Steel’s attention-grabbing onesie seems to be diverting attention from his own struggle.

Vernon shares, “A lot of people are slipping cash into Steel’s unitard,” highlighting the unique and entertaining nature of their journey.

Three Days of Endurance and Determination

Over the course of the next three days, Vernon will traverse through cities, including Derby, with several stops in Bolton before reaching the final destination. His journey is not only a physical test but a heartfelt mission to involve the community and make a real impact.

Nervous Anticipation and a Hearty Breakfast

As Vernon embarks on this epic challenge, he candidly reveals a mix of excitement and nervousness. Reflecting on his training, which involved a variety of running techniques and rigorous stretching reminiscent of the iconic ‘Stretch Armstrong’ toy, he expresses gratitude for the supportive team accompanying him.

Vernon’s pre-run breakfast is a hearty affair, featuring 3 fried eggs, 4 hash browns, beans, a fruit salad with Greek yogurt, and a generous drizzle of honey. This indulgence is a treat for himself after months of dedicated training, underscoring the personal sacrifices made for this noble cause.

A Challenging Route and Strategic Pit Stops

Acknowledging the challenging elevation mapped out for the ultramarathon, Vernon shares his apprehension about the upcoming days. With a team of 25 individuals, including a catering van, fellow runners, and a sports therapist, Vernon is prepared for the physical demands of the journey.

“We looked at some Ordnance Survey maps of the route, and the elevation really scared the living bejesus out of me,” Vernon admits, emphasizing the seriousness of the challenge. He plans strategic pit stops every seven miles to ensure a balance between rest and momentum.

The Ultimate Goal: Raising Funds for Children in Need

As Vernon takes on this physically and emotionally demanding journey, his primary focus remains on raising a substantial amount of money for Children in Need. The live outside broadcast of The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on Radio 2 at Bolton Wanderers Football Stadium will mark a significant moment in this charitable endeavor, with an anticipated audience of 400 people.


Vernon Kay’s ultramarathon is not just a personal journey home but a testament to the power of determination and community support. As he braves the miles and elevations, his infectious smile and genuine enthusiasm inspire us all to contribute to the noble cause of supporting children in need. Let’s rally behind Vernon and make this journey a resounding success for the sake of those who need it the most.

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