STEVE Moran set off on his 1,400-mile charity bike ride today.
The former Saints star aims to complete his Premiership Pedalathon by April 21 and in doing so raise money and awareness of a rare form of muscular dystrophy.
He has been inspired by Connor Lancaster, the 12-year-old son of his partner Hayley, who was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy when he was three.
Fittingly, Steve set off from Martin House Hospice in Boston Spa, Yorkshire – which Connor attends - aiming to complete the 84 miles to Sunderland’s Stadium of Light later today.
From there he will cycle on to Newcastle and every other Premier League ground - as well as Wembley and the five clubs he played for (Saints, Leicester, Reading, Exeter and Hull).
The money Steve raises will be shared between four charities – the Connor Lancaster Trust, Martin House Hospice, Muscular Dystrophy Campaign and Action Duchenne.
Now a lorry driver, 51-year-old Steve hopes the training he has done will be enough.
“You can never do enough training for something like this,” he says.
“I did seven hours on a turbo trainer at the weekend but found it very uncomfortable so I’ll be investing in a gel saddle cover!
“I’m sure it’s going to hurt but I’ve got a lot of support.
“Various friends have kindly offered to drive the support vehicle on a lot of the legs, including Connor’s dad and a guy I met on Facebook whose son suffers from the same condition.”
He will cycle the 110 miles from Exeter City to St Mary’s on April 12 before departing for Reading the next morning.
He hopes many Saints fans will cycle the 46 miles to the Madejski Stadium with him on Friday, April 13 -before heading back for the big game against Reading that night.
“I’ll be staying at the Jolly Farmer in Warsash, which used to be my local, and a lot of Southampton fans have said they’ll be joining me en route which will be fantastic, it’ll be great to see them,” he said.
“We’ll be setting off at 11am so will probably arrive in Reading around 3pm. Hopefully Saints will complete a memorable day by beating Reading in the evening!”
On April 21, Streve will complete his epic journey by cycling the 146 miles from Carrow Road, Norwich to Hull City’s KC Stadium, the club where he finished his playing career and where he is now a matchday host.
There is no cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, but Steve hopes his efforts will go some way to improving Connor’s quality of life.
“Because it’s so rare it doesn’t get the same funding of illnesses like cancer, but they’re so close to finding a treatment, so I had to do something,” he explained.
For more information, check www.premiershippedalathon.co.uk.