Soccer agent's £100k Pole goal

By Jessica Elgot, March 10, 2011
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Ice work if you can get it: Jon Smith preparing for the big freeze

Ice work if you can get it: Jon Smith preparing for the big freeze

Football agent Jon Smith has a new field of play - a North Pole marathon to raise £100,000 for a seven-year-old boy's specialist brain tumour treatment in California.

The freezing challenge will be a first marathon for the 58-year-old Southgate Progressive congregant, who describes himself as "very fit but with incredibly dodgy knees.

"I had knee surgery over Christmas and we leave at the beginning of April. I have been training in the pool, running against water jets and in a cold chamber. But you can't use a running machine in the chamber - it's too cold."

With 25 others from around the world, he will run in minus 40 degrees on a 4.4 kilometre circuit of the North Pole, to be completed 10 times.

"I am incredibly determined," he said. "I wanted something that was a real challenge. But it is so cold I will even have to keep my eyes covered or they will freeze. I can't go too fast or the sweat on my body will freeze and I can't go too slow or I might freeze.

"There is the risk of the odd polar bear but it's actually mostly too cold for them up there. I have to complete it in 36 hours, or the Russian military plane taking us there will freeze on the North Pole ice floe."

Mr Smith - whose First Artist firm represents Premier League players including Niko Kranjcar, Roger Johnson and Jermaine Beckford - is being guided by Professor Greg Whyte, who trained Cheryl Cole for a Kilimanjaro hike and David Walliams for his English Channel swim. "He's the celebrity trainer and I'm his latest project."

The money will go to the charity he started in memory of his wife Lee, who died of leukaemia 30 years ago.

He is halfway to his funding target for Alex Field, a seven-year-old Romford boy who has an aggressive brain tumour.

His family says that although his medical team is first rate, "because of the expense of research and the NHS protocol for using certain cancer drugs, the statistics for surviving this type of tumour are very poor for children". The Fields have been advised that America "is many years ahead of the UK in brain tumour treatment".

Mr Smith will wear a picture of Alex around his neck as he runs "to give me inspiration in the dark moments".

Donate to Jon's fund here

    Last updated: 11:37am, March 11 2011