WITH no immediate prospect of a return to playing football, Bedale Football club is trying to keep its players fit and active by setting up a challenge to run the distance between its Heck Stadium in the town, and the Nou Camp Stadium in Barcelona – a distance of 1,154 miles.

Three teams of players are competing to run and walk the route via the Parc des Prince stadium in Paris, the home of top French team PSG. Players log their daily isolation run or walk mileage and each day secretary Ian Richardson publishes the total distances and route progress.

Due to its links with local business Heck Foods, the teams are competing in three sausage based kits. The first team players are the original “Team Sausage”; the reserves players are the “Bangers and Mash” squad, and a third team made up of managers and supporters are competing as “Team Hot Dog”.

Dave Goodwin, first team manager, said: “We can’t train at the moment so the idea is to motivate players to keep fit by running, but we want to involve as many people associated with the club and so have accepted a late entry from a team of cyclists, the “Bedale Honky Tonks” who are made up of former Bedale players including the club chairman Martyn Coombs.”

At the moment Team Sausage is just out in front having arrived in France with the Bangers and Mash squad hot on their heels just leaving Dover, whilst Team Hot Dog are in third just coming into Ashford in Kent. The cycling team meanwhile are in mid France but have the challenge of a return route back to the Heck Stadium, having done a lap of the Nou Camp.

The event is expected to last five weeks, by which time it is hoped that players will be able to train together rather than running in isolation.

Bedale first team plays in the North Riding Premier League, whilst its reserve team compete in the Harrogate and District league.