Former Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield says he has been overwhelmed by the response to his latest fundraising challenge as donations topped £300,000.
The ex-England rugby league international, who is now defence coach at rugby union club Leicester, is running from the Tigers’ Welford Road ground to Headingley – the length of almost four marathons – non-stop inside 24 hours.
The journey, which is being be split into seven-kilometre segments, was originally planned to cover 100 miles but actually measures 101 with Sinfield once again proving he will always go the extra mile for his former team-mate Rob Burrow who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in December 2019.
Money raised from the run will be divided between the MND Association and the Leeds Hospitals Charity appeal to build a new care centre in Leeds that will bear the name of the former Great Britain number seven.
“I feel really good,” Sinfield said after completing the fifth leg near Nottingham. “We’ve really been buoyed by the support, it’s been incredible, and the weather is great. The rugby gods are shining on us.
“There have been so many people out, from both codes, league and union. The team is in really high spirits but seeing people coming out like they have really picks everybody up.”
Sinfield was given a send-off in Leicester by the Coldstream Guards and received good-luck messages from Alan Shearer Ian Wright and Mo Farah as well as Burrow, who aims to greet him at the finishing line on Tuesday.
The 41-year-old Sinfield is in regular contact with his former team-mate and says he is in his thoughts throughout the challenge.
“That’s what teams do, we stick together,” he said. “We still look after each other, that’s the great thing about rugby.
“I’ve said it before, when someone is in a bit of bother, a bit of strife, the Batman sign goes up and the group will come, that’s probably the strength of that group of players.
“That’s rugby, isn’t it? Perhaps not all teams have it but ours did.”
In December 2020, Sinfield helped raise over £2.7million by running seven marathons in seven days and has already smashed through his initial target of £100,000 for his latest challenge.
As Sinfield neared the halfway stage, his Giveasyoulive fundraising page soared past £280,000, with another £55,000 in gift aid, and he insists that, despite a lack of sleep and plummeting temperatures as he prepared to run through the night, nothing will prevent him from completing the challenge.
“I’m prepared to keep going,” he said. “I don’t know how long my knees will hold up, but he’s a mate and he’d do it for me.”
Register for free to continue reading
Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism
By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists
Already have an account? sign in