A loyal former amateur rugby player will run for 24 hours to try to secure his beloved but struggling club’s future.
Russell Bradley, who played for Leeds Corinthians Rugby Union Football Club, off Middleton Ring Road, in Middleton, for 20 years, aims to run at least two marathons in that time around the club’s pitches.
The 38-year-old warehouse worker’s run comes days after the club, which formed as Leeds Salem Rugby Union Football Club in 1925, at Salem Church, in Hunslet, came dangerously close to extinction after getting an £18,000 gas bill.
The event will take place at the club on September 14, running from noon until the same time the following day.
Russell, who captained its first team for six years, said: “The club means a lot to me, and my son’s 16 and he’s been up there since he was a baby in arms as I know he will get looked after there, and I think every senior player does that.
“So many pubs are closing in the local area, you need everything you have got now, otherwise people have got nowhere to go – it’s been a big part of the community for so many years.”
Having retired from playing for the club, which became Leeds Corinthians in 1956, Russell aims to add to the fundraising total from a recent charity night and bring in £2,500.
Russell has been in training at the rugby club, which hosts two senior teams and three junior sides, as part of his bid to help keep a rugby union club available to local youngsters.
The club is currently recruiting players aged six to nine.
He said: “Obviously the whole area of Middleton, Hunslet and Belle Isle has always been a very rugby league area so we have always struggled, no more than now though – we really struggle now.”
Club trustee and former president David Blong, 65, said the club came close to folding last week, when gas suppliers asked for an £18,000 payment.
He said: “We came pretty close to closure but the members rallied round and now we are just about ticking over but any major finance that we get would put us back into trouble.
“If it wasn’t for these kind of guys that are loyal to the club and put their efforts into keeping the club going, the club couldn’t exist.”
Visit: www.leedscorinthiansrufc.co.uk or call 07803 922400 to sponsor Russell.