Rugby League legend Kevin Sinfield announces ‘toughest’ marathon challenge for charity

Oldham’s Kevin Sinfield will embark on his fourth challenge in aid of Motor Neurone Disease charities on December 1 as he attempts to complete seven ultra-marathons in seven cities in seven days.

He completed his first marathon challenges in 2020 in aid of ex-Leeds Rhinos teammate Rob Burrow who had been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) the year before.

These continued with two further fundraisers in 2021 and 2022 raising money for Burrow and the MND Association.

After successfully completing his 2022 challenge, Sinfield said he would be retiring from marathon running.

But this morning he announced a fourth challenge on BBC Breakfast, claiming this would be “physically my toughest” yet.

He said: “There are 100 reasons why we shouldn’t go again, but there’s 5000 reasons why we should.

“To make a dent into MND, to shift the dial on it, we need money and the awareness has been brilliant over the last four years.

“It’s the funds that are going to make such a difference, whether that is to find the cure or to help support families and provide equipment so people can still communicate and be in the room.”

He is challenged with running seven ultra-marathons in seven days – but without sufficient preparation having been away working at the Rugby World Cup as defence coach for the England Men’s team.

Each marathon he runs will be one mile longer than the standard marathon length to signify the extra mile people can all go to help their friends in tough times – he aims to complete each run inside four hours.

This seven-day stretch of ultra-marathons will begin in Leeds on Decemeber 1 and will finish in London a week later.

In a statement via the MND Association, he said: “I did says that the ultra 7 in 7 would complete the trilogy but there was always that caveat that Rocky IV was my favourite Rocky film.

“Physically this will be my toughest challenge as I have not been able to do the amount of training that I done previously because of my commitments for the World Cup and we have set an ambitious time target to complete each ultra so people know that we will be pushing ourselves to the limit.”

Tanya Curry, chief executive of the MND Association, said: “The fundraising from his previous challenges has helped us expand our services and invest in vital research into this devastating disease.”

Sinfield’s epic challenges began in 2020, when he decided to run seven marathons in seven days – an event dedicated to his former Leeds Rhinos teammate Burrow.

Ever since, he has developed a special bond with fighting MND through his fundraisers.

These have been through the medium of long-distance challenges with each year’s feat harder than the last.

In 2021, he ran a distance of 101 miles in under 24 hours and in 2022 he upped the challenge again, running seven ultra-marathons in seven days.

This involves him going beyond the 26.2 miles that normal marathons last for.

Since his inaugural fundraiser, his efforts have helped former rugby union player Doddie Weir and former footballer Stephen Darby, both diagnosed with MND, alongside Burrow and the MND Association.

However, after his mammoth challenge in 2022, he said: “I think this will be my last running but there is probably still a bit of a glint in my eye.

“I’m conscious that there’s so many worthy charities out there so I don’t want people to get sick of it.”

But, after this morning’s announcement on BBC Breakfast, Sinfield will yet again defy common-sense in yet another challenge.

Since he began fundraising for the cause, he has raised over £8million, with this next challenge having already raised over £2million – weeks ahead of completion.

To donate to the MND Association, click here

Feature image: BBC Breakfast

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