A ST HELENS rugby league referee is closing in on completing 162 miles of running.

Ellis McCarthy is on a mission to raise at least £1,000 for the Rugby League Cares charity by pounding the beat between National Conference League clubs over a month-long period.

On Saturday the Grade 2 offical completed a 6.84 miles course from Clock Face Miners to Pilkington Recs via Thatto Heath, which took him 1hr and 24mins.

Clock Face players and volunteers, young and old, turned up to offer encouragement and support.

St Helens Star:

His longest stretch was 13 miles in Calderdale between the Siddal and Underbank Rangers clubs on day 15 of his journey, while he's also completed courses on Humberside, Cumbria, other parts of Yorkshire and Lancashire, and is due to finish in Gateshead next week.

At the point of writing he needs further donations totalling £200 to reach the £1,000 target. Visit justgiving.com/fundraising/ellis-mccarthy to make a donation.

Ellis, who now lives in St Helens but is originally from Yorkshire where he played for Castleford Lock Lane as a junior, referees National Conference League matches as well as officiating as a touch judge for Championship and Super League.

"I am hoping I can attract sponsorship along the way, as well as raising awareness not only of the charity RL Cares, but of the 49 clubs within the flagship league of the community game," said Ellis.

"I just want people to know that there are community Rugby League clubs out there who are struggling during the lockdown and that they are a vital part of the community that we cannot afford to lose.

"Hopefully, it will help me stay fit for when the season resumes, and I can get back into refereeing."