Dean Jones off to a marathon walk

Australian cricketer Dean Jones and his wife Jane set off for the 1,115km walk on November 24 to raise funds for the Bone Marrow Donor Institute. "We've been married 17 years — it's the first I've actually been with her for 30 days in a row," Jones joked. Jones said the marathon journey, averaging 40km a day, would be "way, way harder" than any cricket Test, but with the same ups and downs. "Cricket Tests finish in five days, sometimes less. This Test match goes up to 31 days," he said. "I've just got to make sure we get there in the end."

The former cricketer and his wife spent two years organising the charity event and more than seven months in training. They began planning the trip after the godmother to one of their two children fell ill with leukaemia five years ago and needed a bone marrow transplant. "We're just trying to make a difference and save some kids lives," he said.

"Without the Bone Marrow Institute she wouldn't be alive." Fellow cricketers, including former Australian captain Allan Border, hundreds of volunteers, sponsors, councils, emergency services had rallied to the cause, he said. Various celebrities would join the group for different legs of the trip. "It's a good time, it's a festive time and the best present in the world to give a family is to give a kid's life a second chance," Jones said. "You've got to deaden the pain in your feet somehow, don't you?" he joked. "The next time we'll be going from Sydney to Melbourne will be in a plane." The Bone Marrow Institute was established by families affected by leukaemia in 1989, to help match donors with those needing transplants.