‘Beat me’ - Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton sets fans running challenge for classy reason

Joey Barton set fans the challenge on Strava (Image: Getty Images)Joey Barton set fans the challenge on Strava (Image: Getty Images)
Joey Barton set fans the challenge on Strava (Image: Getty Images)
Bristol Rovers boss Joey Barton has had his fair share of off-the-pitch controversies but was applauded by fans for setting a running challenge.

Bristol Rovers manager Joey Barton has challenged supporters to beat him in a running race in his latest effort to raise money for Nick Anderton's cancer battle.

The former Premier League star still keeps in shape himself when not on the touchline and is a keen runner. Earlier this year he ran the Manchester Marathon for the club fundraiser and his Strava running profile is open to the public to keep tabs on his training.

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The social running app allows users to share their run maps and times with each other and Barton has over 3,700 followers on the network. The 40-year-old regularly jogs around Bristol and shares dog walks when enjoying downtime away from the drama of League One.

Last week, Barton pulled on his trainers and headed out on a 9,760-metre jog around Ashton Court which he titled the 'Nick Andertini 9.76km'. Completing the distance in 52 minutes and 25 seconds, the Gas boss wrote: "Anyone in Bristol beat that time I'll give a £10 to Nick's GoFundMe page.

"Start at the bottom of Clifton Downes Road, across the Suspension Bridge to Long Ashton. Up hill to gate and back, down and across Brunel's masterpiece, turn right, go down to roundabout and back up hill, bridge then climb path to Observation Station, finish on Fort sign."

The route has a tough total elevation of 162 metres but some followers on Strava quickly shared their keenness to take on Barton's time.

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Nick Anderton made 39 appearances for Bristol Rovers through the 2021/22 season, helping the side to promotion but was diagnosed with bone cancer last summer during pre-season.

Joey Barton set fans the challenge on Strava (Image: Getty Images)Joey Barton set fans the challenge on Strava (Image: Getty Images)
Joey Barton set fans the challenge on Strava (Image: Getty Images)

The 27-year-old has received a flood of support from the club and fans through fundraisers and gestures since then with over £48,000 raised for the family through campaigns including the side shaving their heads in solidarity.

In June, Anderton posted an update from hospital as he completed his final week of scheduled chemotherapy treatment. He wrote: "Saturday the 1st of July will hopefully be the day I can leave the hospital... the exact date I had my first scan last year that discovered a bone tumour.

"This journey has been crazy to say the least, I've had all the side effects you can imagine, sepsis and more but I've learnt so much about the human body and mind and how strong and resilient it is.

"To anyone who's been diagnosed with cancer of any form and is facing the battles ahead, you can do this and tackle treatment head on and remain optimistic."

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