Kevin Sinfield may be ready to discard his running shoes but he has refused to rule out further fundraising exploits as he braces for his biggest challenge yet in aid of research into Motor Neurone Disease (MND) this week.
Starting at Murrayfield on Sunday morning, the former Leeds Rhinos star will cover seven ultra-marathons in as many days with the intention of arriving on the pitch at half-time in the men’s Rugby League World Cup final at Old Trafford on November 19.
Having already raised over £5million for MND research after running seven consecutive marathons in 2020, and 101 miles in under 24 hours the following year, the 42-year-old had previously intimated that his current challenge might be his last.
“The problem is coming up with something that is more difficult and challenging each year, and I’m conscious that there’s so many worthy charities out there so I don’t want people to get sick of it.
“I will still go about trying to raise money and awareness but maybe I’ll do it less publicly, and look to give my knees a bit of a break.”
Sinfield’s latest challenge aims to raise an additional £777,777, of which the main beneficiary will be the MND Association and Leeds Hospitals Charity’s appeal to build the Rob Burrow Centre for MND in Leeds.
He has already helped launch the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon, which will take place for the first time in May next year, and which will start and finish at Headingley Stadium. Depending on Burrow’s health, Sinfield intends to push his team-mate around the route.
“All things being equal, and if Rob’s fit and able, I’ll push him round the marathon which will be an incredible day for everybody involved,” added Sinfield. “If it goes well we will look for that to be another legacy piece for Rob that will happen year after year in his name.”
And he is the first to admit that nothing he went through during his glittering career at the top of his sport can compare with the process required to stretch his body to ever greater physical extremes.
“Playing rugby league was far easier,” added Sinfield. “It’s different – nobody is hitting you when you are running – but the fact you only have to play for 80 minutes at a time makes a big difference.
“I know the sport is all about intensity but you aren’t running for five or six hours. It’s different and it’s tougher, you’re just enduring constant pain and it can be pretty brutal.”
:: Supporters can show their support now at https://donate.giveasyoulive.com/fundraising/kevin-sinfield-ultra-7-in-7-challenge.