Kevin Sinfield to take on his 'toughest challenge ever' as he bids to raise millions more for MND

Rugby league legend Kevin Sinfield is set to run seven ultra-marathons in seven days to raise money for those battling "devastating" motor neurone disease.

The ex-Leeds Rhinos star will take on his "toughest challenge ever" in honour of his pal Rob Burrow MBE who was tragically diagnosed with the disease back in 2019.

Kevin, 43, previously raised millions for research into the incurable rare illness, which attacks the nerves in the brain and spine - sadly shorting a person's life expectancy.

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He said he's looking forward to his "ambitious" fourth fundraiser, starting on December 6, which will take place in seven different cities across the UK and Ireland.

Kevin Sinfield (r) with Rob Burrow after completing his Extra Mile Challenge of 101 miles in under 24hrs. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comKevin Sinfield (r) with Rob Burrow after completing his Extra Mile Challenge of 101 miles in under 24hrs. Picture by Allan McKenzie/
Kevin Sinfield (r) with Rob Burrow after completing his Extra Mile Challenge of 101 miles in under 24hrs. Picture by Allan McKenzie/

He said: "Here we go again! I did say last year that the Ultra 7 in 7 would complete the trilogy but there was always that caveat that Rocky 4 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 have done previously because of my commitments for the World Cup.

"We have set an ambitious time target to complete each ultra so people know that we will be pushing ourselves to the limit. I am looking forward to it and seeing all the support out on the streets once again."

Kevin began raising money for his ex-Leeds Rhinos teammate Rob Burrow back in 2020 through endurance events - raising over £8m for charities so far. A year ago, he and his team ran from Edinburgh to Manchester, covering over 40 miles a day for seven days.

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Now the England Rugby Union defensive coach is set to travel to cities including York, Cardiff, Dublin, Birmingham, Edinburgh, London and Brighton as he tries to raise £777,777 for charity.

He added: "The MND community have always given us incredible support and we wanted to find a way that we could show that support for more people around the country."

Rob, 41, from Pontefract, was diagnosed with motor neuron disease (MND) following a 16-year club career and numerous appearances for England. He has since sadly been confined to a wheelchair while being supported by his wife, Lindsey Burrow, who he met when he was just 15 as a "shy teenager".

She has become his full-time carer and carries the former strapping rugby player, who has seen significant muscle wastage from the diseases, around their home.

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Kevin said he was left in a "tailspin" after finding out about Rob's diagnosis, adding he didn't know how his family had stayed so strong in light of his illness.

He said: "It had a massive effect. I was in a tailspin for some time, trying to understand exactly what it meant. I can't imagine what it was like for Lindsey and the children. I can only speak about it as a close friend. But yes, it was devastating. You think people are going to be here forever. You think people who bring light into your life are going to be around for a long, long time.

"And the realisation that this might not be the case is pretty dark and pretty tough to work through. But as I expected, Rob has shown us all what fighting really is. And the Burrow family has shown us what love is. They have done an incredible job of dealing with adversity and tragedy. Long may that continue."

In May, Kevin ran the Leeds Marathon with Rob, who was pushed in his wheelchair, before carrying him across the finish line. The image of the pair brought tears to the eyes of thousands and has come to stand as a symbol of their friendship.

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Kevin said: "No one anticipated it to have the effect it did. We'd always planned to cross the finish line together. It was a moment for me and Rob to share. But there were 12,000 other people there sharing that moment with us. The feeling in Leeds was incredible on that day."

Kevin has now written a book with Rob about their long-lasting relationship, titled 'With You Every Step'. 50p from each sale will be split between the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Leeds Hospitals Charity.

He added: "The book is based on quotes that Rob and I have spoken to each other. It would be great for children, but we also wanted it to appeal to anyone between the ages of eight and 80.

"Hopefully mums, dads and grandparents will also get something from it. We're really proud to have written it. I'd like to think it will inspire people to build friendships and look after each other a little bit better."

'With You Every Step' will be published by Pan Macmillan on November 9.