Vernon Kay was “really nervous” before he kicked off his ULTRA Ultramarathon in aid of BBC Children in Need on Tuesday (14.11.23).
The 49-year-old broadcaster admitted he was “smiling all day” hours before he began his four-day, 115-mile challenge - which works out as a marathon a day - on Tuesday, but the nerves hit him just moments before he placed his first steps.
Vernon kicked off his Ultramarathon from Leicester’s Victoria Park, and he will run to Bolton Wanderers' Toughsheet Community Stadium in his hometown on Friday morning (17.11.23).
Just minutes before the challenge got underway, he told Zoe Ball, 52, on BBC Radio 2’s ‘The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show’: “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. The moment has arrived, we’re going live on Radio 2 on Zoe Ball but the nerves have built and built, and now I’m thinking have I done enough training for this epic challenge, I think I have. We’re about to find out!”
Vernon - who is married to ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ host Tess Daly, 54, with who he has two daughters, Phoebe, 19, and Amber, 13 - quipped that his training allowed him to do his “finest impression” of Forrest Gump, the titular character from the 1994 film starring Tom Hanks.
He said: “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.”
Fans can listen to Vernon's updates on Radio 2 shows across the week - live and after transmission on BBC Sounds. To make a donation head to bbc.co.uk/vernon