Vernon Kay  is on his way home - back to his beloved Bolton!

The radio presenter and TV broadcaster has just started his 115 miles trek to his hometown, a feat he is undertaking for this year's Children in Need.

And for his first leg of the ultramarathon challenge, the former St Joseph's RC High School old boy is being accompanied by Steel from the newly rebooted Gladiator series.

Vernon said: "It's amazing to see people coming out on the streets, they're donating as we're running by."

But added that Steel's onesie is distracting the crowds from him struggling.

The Bolton News: Vernon Kay and Mayor of Leicester Dr Susan Barton and and Pudsey. Credit BBCVernon Kay and Mayor of Leicester Dr Susan Barton and and Pudsey. Credit BBC

Vernon said: "A lot of people are slipping cash into Steel's unitard."

The BBC Radio 2 mid morning presenter will be on foot across the next three days to get him from Victoria Park in Leicester, recent home of Radio 2 in the Park, to Bolton Wanderers’ football stadium in his hometown.

He’s heading to Derby today and finishing at Bolton Wanderers Football Stadium this Friday - with a few stops in Bolton on the way - morning where they will be a live outside broadcast of The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on Radio 2 in front of an audience for 400 people.

Vernon said: "I’m smiling because I’m trying to keep warm as it’s freezing in Leicester.

"I’ve been smiling all morning and now my smile is stuck to my face.

"To be honest I was excited last night, we had a big team dinner and a big meeting, and now I’m feeling really nervous, now I’m thinking have I done enough training for this epic challenge, I think I have. We’re about to find out!

"I’ve just been running. I’ve been doing my finest Forrest Gump impression.

"Lots of miles under the belt, different tempos.

"I’ve been doing long runs at a slow pace, short runs and a fast rate, and a fast run at a slow rate, and a long run at a fast pace.

" I’ve done lots of stretching, oh crikey. Do you remember that toy in the 70s and 80s Stretch Armstrong? I feel like that.

"I’ve been pulled, I’ve been manipulated, a fella got right into my calves which was really painful but really good and beneficial, I’m feeling the benefits of that now. Everyone is really excited. We have a lot of people who will join us.

"A fella says he’s going to chase me out of the city of Leicester which is quite nice so a few people are joining me. I’m really excited. That’s going to ramp me up and get me motivated to raise as much money as possible for Children in Need.

The Bolton News: Vernon Kay - Victoria Park Leicester 3 - credit BBC

"We’re starting off in Leicester because that’s where Radio 2 had its big weekend with Kylie Minogue headlining and Tears for Fears and then we’re going to end up in Bolton at the Toughsheet Stadium home of the mighty Bolton Wanderers, one of the founding fathers of the football league and basically, around the corner from my old school and my mum and dad’s house so I can have a cup of tea and a nice pasty when I get there!

"For breakfast [today], I thought I would just go for it. I had 3 fried eggs, 4 hash browns, beans, a fruit salad with some Greek yoghurt and lots of honey.

"I thought I’ve done all that training I thought I’d treat myself on the day of the run with a meal that I’ve not had for a long time, so I don’t know what’s going to happen.

"I think it’s just nerves, I’m really nervous. I didn’t think I would get this nervous, but we’ve got a long way to go. Hopefully the weather is going to be alright and hopefully my body holds out. I just hope we can raise a load of money.

Vernon will be accompanied 25 people, from a catering van to those running with him and a  sports therapist.

He said: "We looked at some Ordnance Survey maps of the route and the elevation really really scared the living bejesus out of me.

"The first day today is not too bad, we are going uphill but it’s a slight elevation. But tomorrow, Thursday and Friday are a joke – I didn’t expect that! Thank goodness I’ve been doing hill training.

"We’re going to take pit stops every seven miles which is great as the majority of runs I’ve been doing have been just over seven miles so I can handle that.

"We’re not going to stop for more than 25 minutes because then your body goes into a rest period, so we’ve got to keep going. So it’s stop, consume something, maybe change my socks, my trainers or something, and then crack on!"

The Bolton News: Vernon Kay Ultra Ultramarathon

· See the route here

· Follow his progress on the BBC Live page at -

· To make a donation head to

· For all the behind the scenes action head to @BBCRadio2 on Insta and TikTok