It was a family affair for Francis Benali as he continued his 1,000-mile Big Run without visiting a Premier League stadium yesterday.
The Saints legend, who is raising money for Cancer Research UK by running between all 20 Premier League football grounds in the space of just three weeks, had a gruelling day.
He awoke early in Riplingham and Westfield and ran 43 miles to Kippax as he headed west from Hull towards Burnley, where he will arrive tomorrow.
Having such a long stretch without the benefit of visiting a ground is mentally sapping, but as well as his brilliant support crew, he was joined during the day by wife Karen, daughter Kenzie and son Luke out on the streets.
“It was a hard day and the pace suffered later on in the day but I am pleased with how it went and another day is done with no real major injuries or problems so that is very positive,” said Benali after completing day four of his epic challenge.
“It was tough to get out of bed when the alarm went off but the team behind me have just been so great and so encouraging.
“The family all ran with me. We have always been close and it was great to have them out there with me.
“Also the rest of the team have been just incredible. I actually feel guilty and like I’m not doing enough because they literally are taking care of everything.
“I even had an ice bath in a car park as soon as I finished as it meant recovery straightaway rather than taking another five-ten minutes to get to the hotel.
“My phyiso, Kelly, has been incredible and has been taking care of me so well. She encourages me to tell her about any problem, even if it’s a one on a scale of one-ten, to try and address it before it becomes a real injury and she is doing a great job.
“I am really looking forward to the next part of the journey now and on to Burnley which will about quarter of the way. My son Luke told me that and it’s great to grab those little positives.”
Benali will arrive at Burnley later today where he is expected to be met by striker Danny Ings.
But before that former teammate and 2003 FA Cup finalist James Beattie is set to join his old mate for part of the run.