Ex-footballer Steve has a new goal for charity
A RETIRED Tiverton footballer is training for a 930-mile cycle ride to raise money for the charity set up in memory of his friend and former strike partner Adam Stansfield.
Steve Rowland, 39, will ride from Land's End to John O'Groats in September and hopes to raise £4,000 in aid of the Adam Stansfield Foundation.
Steve has played for a number of local teams in a 24-year career including alongside Adam at Elmore FC.
He has undertaken a number of marathons and ultra-marathons, to keep him fit in a very different way to regular football.
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He said: "In football, you are used to sprinting five yards one way and then sprinting the other way. On the trail marathons you get some fantastic scenery but it is just you with no teammates – and some of the hills are hard to even walk up."
Steve's trail marathons covered 29 miles of coastal footpath on the Jurassic Coast and in South Devon, and the ultra-marathon was a 31-mile route in London.
Steve hopes this endurance grounding will help with the challenge of riding an average of more than 100 miles a day for nine days.
He will set off from Land's End on September 1 as part of an organised group all riding for their own charities, and with back-up vehicles and each night's accommodation taken care of.
On the second day, Steve and the other riders will be setting out from Okehampton and riding to Bristol, where he works as a civil servant.
He said he was hoping to be able to stop off in Tiverton during the second day to meet with supporters. From then, the route uses mainly minor roads as the team head up to the tip of mainland Britain.
Steve is due to return to Devon on September 10, which he said was likely to be a poignant occasion, as it was the date of Adam's birthday. A few days later, Steve hopes to have recovered suitably to celebrate his own 40th birthday.
Steve is a trustee of the Adam Stansfield Foundation, which supplies football boots and kit for the next generation of footballers.
Adam said: "The reason I am doing this is to raise as much money as possible in support of the foundation, for the benefit of children up to the age of 16 residing in Devon, Herefordshire and Somerset by providing grants and facilities for playing football. My cycle will also help raise more awareness of bowel cancer, which was the cause of Adam's death."
Steve has set up a fundraising page via the www.virginmoneygiving.com website but said people could also contact him via e-mail at email@example.com if they would like to make a pledge of support.