Saddleworth’s role as Kevin Sinfield goes ultra

KEVIN Sinfield may be a national name because of his fundraising efforts – but Saddleworth still plays a huge part.

The rugby league legend, now defence coach at Leicester Tigers rugby union club, will run all the way from Edinburgh to Manchester in his latest Ultra 7 in 7.

Raising money for motor neurone disease charities in the name of former Leeds Rhinos team-mate and friend Rob Burrow, the total already stands at more than £178,000.

Kevin Sinfield as her prepares for his next fundraising challenge – photo by Gemma Carter

Sinfield has also raised more than £5 million with two challenges, his original 7 in 7, which saw him run seven marathons in as many days – including five around his home area – in 2020 and last year’s 101-mile The Extra Mile, which saw him run from Leicester to Leeds in 24 hours.

But despite that and his national exposure through BBC TV, Saddleworth is where it is all built, not least because of fellow runners and friends David Spencer and Chris Stephenson who will be with him every step of the way.

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com – 05/12/2020 – Rugby League – Kevin Sinfield 7 in 7, Leeds, England – Kevin Sinfield MBE completes his run at Headingley Stadium on day 5 of his seven marathons in seven days fundraising challenge in support of his former team-mate Rob Burrow and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

“I’ve been training all around Saddleworth,” said Sinfield, whose latest challenge starts at Edinburgh’s Murrayfield on Sunday, November 13 and will end at Old Trafford during half time on the men’s Rugby League World Cup final on November 19.

“I’ve got my routes and it gives me a great taste of what’s to come, especially with starting in Scotland – the hills, the rain and everything else that’s great about Saddleworth!

“But it’s a great place to run, I really enjoy it. I’m never really that far from home and it’s really looked after me over the past couple of years.

“I’ve done the marathon route I did around the area a number of time but I try to mix it up ass I’ll get bored of just doing the same thing over and over.

Picture by Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com – 01/12/2020 – Rugby League – Kevin Sinfield 7 in 7 – Saddleworth, Greater Manchester, England – Kevin Sinfield MBE on day 1 of his seven marathons in seven days fundraising challenge in support of his former Leeds Rhinos team-mate Rob Burrow and the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MND).

“So I’ve a number of different 10k, half-marathon and marathon routes, so I can piece things together. Some days, I’ll set off on what I think will be a route, change an hour in and end up somewhere completely different.”

Sinfield’s journey starts at Murrayfield and goes to Melrose Rugby Club – where Doddie Weir, who is also living with MND – played.

Then it is on to Otterburn in Northumberland, Chester-le-Street in Durham, Stokesley in North Yorkshire, York and Bradford, before finishing at Old Trafford.

It will take him close to his Grasscroft base, going through Denshaw before heading over Grains Bar, but hot passing home is deliberate.

Kevin Sinfield

“We largely avoided Saddleworth, “Sinfield added. “If we’d added a couple of extra miles on, it would’ve meant I ran past my house and I thought, ‘I’m not running past with 10 miles to go. It’s not fair. I’ll stay way until I come home.’

Sinfield is a familiar sight on Saddleworth’s roads but work commitments in Leicester mean he has to run either very early in the morning or late at night.

The major part of his preparation is done, now it is all about making sure he is good to go.

Sinfield told the Saddleworth Independent: “Thankfully, I’m backing off now. Last week I did a really big week of running at different times of the day, constantly running on tired legs.

“Some have been at 4am, I finished one at 10.45pm. I fit them in around work, so depending on where work is, whether I’ve a day at home or down there, dictates when and how the running takes place.

“It’s been a huge challenge to get to this point and not get injured.”

*YOU can donate to Kevin Sinfield’s Utra 7 in 7 at https://donate.giveasyoulive.com/fundraising/kevin-sinfield-ultra-7-in-7-challenge

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