Leeds Rhinos legend Barrie McDermott has been limbering up to pound the pavements in this year’s London Marathon.
The RL icon will be running alongside local Mencap fundraiser Bronagh Daly on April 21, to raise awareness and money for learning disability charity Mencap.
And in a bid to inspire more people to sign up, the pair led a circuit training session at Kirkstall Leisure Centre on Friday.
Barrie, a long-time supporter of the charity, has organised a range of sports activities for the people it supports including rugby skills workshops, and volunteering opportunities for Leeds Rhinos Academy players at the charity’s East End Park site.
He said: “Getting fit for the London Marathon has been a physical challenge for me, and that might be a surprise for some people to hear saying that I was a professional rugby league player for 16 years, but the truth is I want to show people in Leeds that its good to step out of your comfort zone and take on challenges to increase fitness.
“When Mencap offered me the place for the London Marathon I jumped at the chance. My question to anybody thinking about physical activity is to ask themselves what are they getting fit for and then speak to their local leisure centre to advise them on how to get started. Feeling good comes from within, and that comes from achieving ambitions you thought we’re beyond your boundaries.
“I’ve always been a bloke that enjoyed a challenge whether I was on the rugby pitch or in front of the camera. Mencap have extraordinary people who are changing lives by supporting people in any way possible, it’s only right we do the same.”
Barrie and Bronagh were joined by Councillor Adam Ogilvie, Leeds City Council’s executive member for leisure, he said: “We would encourage everyone to follow Barrie and Bronagh’s lead and get involved in sport in whatever way they can.”
Ian Carpenter of Mencap Sport added: “People with a learning disability can feel excluded from mainstream sports clubs.”
To donate visit: www.justgiving.com/lmbronaghdaly2013