Rugby League legend Kevin Sinfield OBE is putting his running shoes back on this November as he sets out on his latest fundraising challenge for those impacted by motor neurone disease (MND).
In December 2020, Sinfield led a team that raised over £2.7 million by running seven marathons in seven days. The former England captain, who joined the coaching staff at Premiership Rugby Union side Leicester Tigers earlier this year, will now attempt to run from Leicester’s home at Mattioli Woods Welford Road to Headingley Rugby Stadium in Leeds in 24 hours.
Starting on Monday 22nd November, the run will be split into 7km segments, each must be completed within a hour before the next one starts on the hour. Originally, the journey was planned to cover a distance of 100 miles but the actual final distance covers 101 miles with Sinfield once again proving he will always go the ‘extra mile’ for his friend and former team mate Rob Burrow.
Burrow was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in December 2019 and since then has publicly championed raising funds and awareness for everyone impacted by the disease. It has led to an award-winning documentary and best-selling autobiography but Burrow’s greatest achievement and latest goal is to realise the dream of a new MND Care Centre in Leeds, that will bear his name.
Sinfield’s initial target for ‘The Extra Mile Challenge’ is to raise £100,000 as he runs just short of four marathons back to back in a day. This challenge, inspired by Burrow, will be raising money directly to benefit people living with MND.
Donations will be split equally between the Leeds Hospitals Charity appeal to build the Rob Burrow Centre for MND supporting people living with MND and their families, and the MND Association which funds multi-disciplinary care delivered at the Centre and others across the country, as well as research into potential treatments for the disease.
Commenting on the challenge, Sinfield said, “Undoubtedly this will the toughest challenge I have ever attempted but I know it will mean so much to so many people if we can reach our fundraising target. In my short time at the Tigers, the people in Leicester have made me feel so welcome and it is wonderful that we have been able to come up with an event that starts in Leicester and finishes with us coming home to Headingley.
“The response from the public last year was breath taking and I know, from feedback we have received from the MND Association, every penny that was raised has been put to good use to help members of the MND community across England and Wales. The more money we can raise, the more people we can help. I am sure there will be tough times as we pound the streets during the day and night, in cold November temperatures, but knowing the good we can all achieve together will be a huge motivation for everyone involved,” added the 41-year-old.
The route for the run has been devised by the Carnegie School of Sport at Leeds Beckett University and, unlike last year when Covid restrictions impacted supporter number. The route has been published and the public are welcome to come out and support the fundraising team as they head north however the public will not be able to join in the run due to safety concerns.
Leeds Hospitals Charity CEO Esther Wakeman commented, “We’re absolutely delighted that Kevin is taking on this gruelling challenge to support our Rob Burrow Centre for MND appeal and the impactful work of the MND Association. I hope that the public will get behind Kevin as he sets off on his latest fundraising challenge, which will help raise much-needed funds to support people living with this cruel disease, and raise awareness of the devastating impact MND has on people like Rob and their families. Everyone at Leeds Hospitals Charity will be cheering Kevin on all the way and we look forward to congratulating him in person when he arrives at Headingley Stadium!”
Sally Light, Chief Executive of the Motor Neurone Disease Association, added, “Knowing the dedication, commitment and passion our MND Association Patron Kevin Sinfield has for supporting people with MND, it doesn’t surprise us at all that he’s chosen to go the ‘extra mile’ with his awareness raising and fundraising efforts once again. This is an incredible challenge to be tackling and we couldn’t be more proud that he will be wearing the Association logo every step of the way from Leicester to Leeds.”
Supporters can back Kevin’s appeal now at https://donate.giveasyoulive.com/fundraising/kevin-sinfields-the-extra-mile-challenge
Photos courtesy of Leeds Rhinos.