Kevin Sinfield has said he will carry on supporting the Motor Neurone Disease Association for the rest of his life as he continues his heroic fundraising efforts, inspired by former Leeds Rhinos team-mate Rob Burrow who was diagnosed with the debilitating condition almost two years ago.
Last year’s seven marathons in seven days raised more than £2.7m but the ex-Rhinos captain was busy taking matters to a new level yesterday.
He was due to complete his epic Extra Mile Challenge at Headingley this morning having hopefully run 101 miles in just 24 hours. How do you surpass that? No doubt, once he has recovered from this latest Herculean effort, ‘Sir’ Kev will find a way.
The 41-year-old, the most decorated player in Leeds’s history having famously led them to seven Grand Final wins alongside Burrow, started out yesterday morning at Leicester Tigers where he is now defence coach of the Premiership side.
Essentially attempting to run almost four marathons inside 24 hours, Sinfield was waved off from their Welford Road ground with cheering fans urging him on. He also had a message from his friend close at heart.
Burrow tweeted: “Just wanted to wish my mate Kev all the luck in the world with his next crazy challenge. You know he is a good one when he is prepared to put his body and well-being on the line again for his little mate. Go careful mate and see you at the finish line.”
Having planned to run through the night, attempting slots of seven kilometres every hour, the original idea was to run 100 miles. However, the final distance to Sinfield’s old stomping ground of Headingley is 101, once again proving he will always go the ‘extra mile’ for his friend.
Sinfield was due to arrive at Headingley at 8am today and the latest round of fundraising will be split 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.
Sinfield’s exploits in support of his team-mate of more than 15 years, have captured the hearts of the nation.
Support has come in from all corners of the UK with the target of £100,000 passed before he embarked and £450,000 broken last night.
After the fifth leg of the run, pausing to finish off another much-needed jelly bean, Sinfield said: “I’m really, really buoyed by the support. It’s been incredible.
“We couldn’t have had a better day with the weather. The rugby gods are shining on us and just seeing so many people out, both codes – league and union – has been wonderful. I can’t thank them enough.”
At various points yesterday, he was joined on legs by the likes of ex-Leeds United and England footballer Gemma Bonner, former Rhinos and England team-mate Gareth Ellis and former Downing Street press secretary Alastair Campbell.
To donate, go to donate.giveasyoulive.com/fundraising/kevin-sinfields-the-extra-mile-challenge online. People can also donate £3 by texting the word Kevin to 70143.