Thursday, August 8, 2013
Paul Stansfield – brother of late Exeter City striker Adam Stansfield – and Grecians supporter Nick Bryant ran an incredible 76 miles between Bristol Rovers’ Memorial Stadium and Exeter’s St James Park as a charitable fundraiser ahead of the meeting between the two clubs on the opening day of the football season, writes Richard Dorman.
For running nearly three marathon-distances back-to-back, Paul and Nick have currently raised a tally surpassing £2,000 for charity, which will be split between the Adam Stansfield Foundation and Macmillan Cancer Support.
They previously ran 50 miles together between Exeter and Yeovil in 2010 for the Adam Stansfield Foundation, shortly after the striker’s passing and the inception of the charity.
Setting off from the Mem late on Friday evening, the duo ran through the night and battled tiredness, knee injuries and the traffic to arrive at St James Park well ahead of schedule. As well as just being within the realms of capacity for the runners, the 76-mile run had some poignancy too – one mile for every Football League goal that Stansfield scored for his three professional clubs: Exeter, Yeovil and Hereford.
The pair were then given the honour of leading out the two teams with the matchball for the Saturday 3pm kick-off, and received hearty applause from all corners of the stadium for their feat. The Grecians hold fundraising bucket collections at every game, and the Adam Stansfield Foundation was the designated beneficiary for that match.
Saturday, August 10 marks the third anniversary of Adam Stansfield’s death. The Foundation raises funds to support facilities and opportunities for youth football in the three areas where the striker played his pro football, whilst national charity Macmillan provides support to those suffering with cancer and their families throughout their difficulties.
Paul Stansfield said: “The Adam Stansfield Foundation is a good cause and probably one that would have been close to Adam’s heart if he was still here – I’m sure he’d look upon the Foundation as a really good thing. Some families aren’t as lucky as ours was in terms of the support we had when Adam was diagnosed with cancer, so giving funds to a charity like Macmillan is really important so that sufferers and their families can receive help during that time of crisis.”
Nick Bryant, a big Exeter City fan and keen runner, added: “Adam was someone that ran a lot, chased lost causes, and would keep going right to the end. I think running is a good way of typifying that and remembering him, and to raise money for the Foundation that was set up in his name.”