He’s achieved more in his career than most sportsmen of his generation, but Rugby League legend Kevin Sinfield considers it an honour to join the thousands of runners taking part in tomorrow’s Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon.
The all-time record points scorer for the Leeds Rhinos will join those hitting the streets of York tomorrow as the marathon marks its fifth year.
More than 7,000 people have entered the event, part of the legacy of the late fundraiser and campaigner Jane Tomlinson.
It is the latest in a series of charity endurance events since the former Rhinos and England captain’s playing days came to an end.
Mr Sinfield said: “I’m delighted to be supporting the Jane Tomlinson Appeal. Jane was a truly inspirational figure who showed what can be achieved if you have the spirit and determination. It’s an honour to be running for the Appeal established in her name.”
Former international cricket umpire Dickie Bird will start the race at the University of York at 9.30am.
As well as the marathon runners, over 4,000 people will also take part in the Yorkshire 10 Mile, with scores of teams entering the Yorkshire Marathon Corporate Relay, which splits the 26.2 miles into six legs of between three and six miles.
Among the runners is Lynda Gent, from Bridlington, who was in a wheelchair at 21 and broke her pelvis at 38 - and now at 50 is a first-time marathon runner. Mrs Gent will be raising money for cancer research after losing the majority of her family to the disease.
Diagnosed with fibromyalgia at 21, she came to rely on her wheelchair till her late 30s.
A broken pelvis in 2005 caused her to lose the mobility in her legs. Mrs Gent said she was excited but nervous.
“If I have to I will crawl, but I hope I don’t,” she said. “I always said I wouldn’t run a marathon because of (looking after 10-year-old daughter) Kayleith, but I got to 50 and thought - you know what: ‘Give it a shot.’
“I say to people: ‘If I can do it anyone can.’”
Paralympian Jade Jones, 21, and her fiancé Callum Hall, 25, will be among a group of wheelchair racers battling to cross the finish line first. Leeds-born Callum, winner of this year’s Leeds Half Marathon, was left paralysed in 2012 after stepping on a sea urchin while diving off the Greek island of Skiathos. He developed a spinal abscess which burst.
The couple were three minutes apart last year - both winning their respective races.
The wife of Keighley Cougars rugby league player Danny Jones, who died after suffering a cardiac arrest during a game is running the Corporate Relay. Lizzie Jones and a group of her friends are raising money for the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund, which helps community rugby league clubs and junior teams purchase defibrillators.
The event is being staged by Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All team, which organises a series of 10K events, the Leeds Half Marathon and the Sheffield Half Marathon.
Mrs Tomlinson raised almost £2m for charity by tackling a series of endurance challenges, despite being diagnosed with incurable cancer.