Saddleworth rugby legend Kevin Sinfield goes further in latest challenge

KEVIN Sinfield is going even further as he raises money and awareness for people living with motor neurone disease with an Ultra 7 in 7.

The Saddleworth-based rugby league legend will run all the way from Murrayfield in Edinburgh to Manchester United’s Old Trafford in just seven stages.

And he will end on the pitch at half-time of the men’s Rugby League World Cup final on Saturday, November 19.

The latest challenge, which starts on Sunday, November 13, will see Sinfield go to Melrose, Newcastle, Middlesbrough, York, Leeds and Bradford before heading to Manchester.

So far, almost £5 million has been raised after he initially did seven marathons in seven days then a 101-mile ‘The Extra Mile’ continuous run from Leicester Tigers’ stadium, where he now works as defence coach, to Leeds’ Headingley.

And the spirit of former Leeds Rhinos team-mate team-mate Rob Burrow, on whose 40th birthday this was announced, rugby union stars Doddie Weir and Ed Slater and footballer Stephen Darby – who are all living with the condition – is all the motivation he needs.

Sinfield, who is out training on the streets of Saddleworth as early as 4am, said: “You put those four in a rugby team and it’s not getting beaten.

“We’ll try and hit places that mean a lot to Doddie, Rob and Stephen. I said to Ed we weren’t going to add Old Trafford to Gloucester, though. That’s a bit too far.

Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield. Photo by SW Pix

“It’s about 43 or 44 miles a day. It’s a decent distance, we’re really looking forward to it.

“This was the original plan, we wanted to actually run a marathon each day on our way down from Edinburgh, but because of Covid-19, it got quickly scrapped and after we completed The Extra Mile last year, I knew very quickly we’d revisit this.

“It’ll be one hell of a challenge but we’ve a wonderful team back together again and I can’t wait to start.

“It’s all down to Rob. When he was diagnosed in December 2019, that started something with his former team-mates and our former club, combine Doddie and Stephen and now add Ed. He’s been a true inspiration already.

Kevin Sinfield will embark on his biggest challenge to date

“People living with MND have no choice but to live with their condition every day and they are an inspiration for all of us taking part in the challenge.

“MND is not incurable, it has just been underfunded and I have belief that by raising funds we can give the scientists and researchers the best possible opportunity to find that cure.

“We also need to help those living with MND, to give them hope and love so they know we are with them.

“And I want the MND community – I want Rob, Doddie, Stephen and Ed – to know that there are people out there who are willing to go to some dark places for them. I’m certainly willing to do that.”

Burrow admits he ‘declined a lot’ during the Covid-19 lockdowns and admitted, even though he is going through a ‘plateau’: “To be honest, I didn’t think I’d be here now.”

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

On the latest challenge, he added: “I didn’t know what it was but I knew it would be the hardest yet. You’ve got to ask yourself, ‘What sort of guy would put his body in harm’s way for his little mate?’ I can only say a brother.

“I love him like he’s family and I know my family do too. I’ve said it many times before, everyone should have a friend like Kevin.

“I know he would be the first to share the spotlight with all the team who are making this possible, just as he did as my captain but his leadership and inspiration is at the heart of every challenge.

“I am sure this will be tough and I can’t wait to see Kevin and the guys along the way to cheer them on.”

A fundraising target of £777,777, which will surely be beaten, has been set with the money being split between six charities – mainly the MND Association and Leeds Hospitals Charity’s appeal to build the Rob Burrow Centre for MND in Leeds.

However, there will also be donations to MND Scotland, My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation plus support for the 4ED campaign.

You can donate by visiting: https://donate.giveasyoulive.com/fundraising/kevin-sinfield-ultra-7-in-7-challenge

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