Football legend Michael Owen is planning a shock return to big-time sport in April with the announcement today that the former Liverpool, Real Madrid Newcastle United and Manchester United star will run the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon.
The surprise news is a stunning success for Men United, Prostate Cancer UK's big prostate cancer awareness and fundraising project. The former England striker, fourth on the all-time goalscoring list for his country, is already in training for his 26.2 mile challenge on Sunday 13 April. Following a prolific career for club and country which saw him bulge the back of the net 324 times in 602 appearances, the frontman has set himself a new goal – raising money and awareness.
Owen’s stellar footballing career came to a conclusion in 2013 as he hung up his boots when at Stoke City. One of his final acts as a player was to sport some facial hair for Movember, a feat he repeated last year. Now, having swapped his boots for running shoes, Owen’s rigorous training programme for the legendary run across London is well under way. He will also be working with two other causes, Alder Hey Children’s Charity and scientists and medics working on improving genetic medicine from The University of Manchester and Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, who, alongside Prostate Cancer UK, are all causes close to his heart.
Michael Owen said: “I was lucky enough to play in some amazing stadiums during my career and it’s shocking to think that 250,000 people – almost three times the capacity of Wembley – are affected by prostate cancer in the UK. A couple of years or so ago my Dad had a health scare around prostate cancer and I realised how quickly life's priorities can change. I have signed up to run the Virgin Money London Marathon to raise awareness and to help fund research into tests, treatments and causes of prostate cancer. It is a disease that has not only affected my family but so many players and fans - so it just made sense.”
Owen takes an ever-growing squad of Prostate Cancer UK runners to 250 with the organisation primed to raise £500,000 from the ultimate test of endurance at London. Michael Owen added: "To be successful in football you have to work as a team and Men United stands for the same principles. It’s important that we all pull together to defeat this deadly disease and by raising money we can start to make a big difference.”
Prostate Cancer UK Chief Executive, Owen Sharp, said: “It’s fantastic news to see such a football legend join our team of runners to take on the famous streets of London in April for an amazing cause. Michael is not only a legend in the football world but also an icon across wider sport and we look forward to seeing him sporting our logo among our team of runners in blue and black as they pace across the capital. Prostate Cancer affects one in eight men, and with one man dying every hour from this disease it’s something we cannot let run away from us. Our quest for progress is a marathon, and not a sprint, but this is a race we can win.”