Leeds Rhinos legend Kevin Sinfield vows never to stop as he prepares for epic 7 in 7 in 7 Challenge

Leeds Rhinos legend Kevin Sinfield says his fight against killer motor neurone disease won’t end, even after his running legs are worn out.
Kevin Sinfield arrives at Old Trafford, at half-time of the men's World Cup final, after completing seven seven ultra-marathons in seven days last November. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.Kevin Sinfield arrives at Old Trafford, at half-time of the men's World Cup final, after completing seven seven ultra-marathons in seven days last November. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.
Kevin Sinfield arrives at Old Trafford, at half-time of the men's World Cup final, after completing seven seven ultra-marathons in seven days last November. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

Sinfield’s latest fundraiser will see him and his team run a marathon, plus one extra mile, every day for seven days in seven cities around Great Britain and Ireland. The aim is to complete each route in less than four hours.

The England rugby union assistant-coach will set off from Rhinos’ AMT Headingley Stadium on Friday, December 1, with the first day’s run ending in York. He will also visit Cardiff, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Dublin and Brighton before finishing on the Mall, in London, on Thursday, December 7.

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Sinfield had planned to hang up his charity running shoes after last year’s epic trek from Edinburgh to Manchester, which took his total raised for MND sufferers and research to £8 million. But explaining his decision to go again, Sinfield told a press conference today (Friday): “The plan was to do three, but why would we stop?”

Kevin Sinfield meets Rob Burrow at the Headingley finish line after running 101 miles from Leicester in 24 hours two years ago. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.Kevin Sinfield meets Rob Burrow at the Headingley finish line after running 101 miles from Leicester in 24 hours two years ago. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.
Kevin Sinfield meets Rob Burrow at the Headingley finish line after running 101 miles from Leicester in 24 hours two years ago. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

He said: “We haven’t got a cure and we feel we can make a better impact on the lives of people who’ve got MND. We feel we can help some more, so why would we stop? I am in this now; there will come a point when I can’t do this any more and that’s fine, but I will find another way of banging the drum. It means a lot to the whole team and I am pretty sure whatever we do next, they’ll all be in.”

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Next month will be four years since Sinfield’s former Rhinos teammate Rob Burrow was diagnosed with MND. The illness is terminal, with no known cure and Sinfield said around 50 per cent of sufferers die within two years of diagnosis.

Sinfield admitted Burrow reckons he is “crackers” to be putting himself through another epic challenge, but the former Rhinos captain stressed: “We’re not. We are really looking forward to going again. It has been an incredible three years representing such a beautiful community. The love and support for Rob and the MND community has shown right across the UK.”

Kevin Sinfield, left, during the last of his seven marathons in as many days in December, 2020. Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com.Kevin Sinfield, left, during the last of his seven marathons in as many days in December, 2020. Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com.
Kevin Sinfield, left, during the last of his seven marathons in as many days in December, 2020. Picture by Simon Wilkinson/SWpix.com.
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Sinfield’s fund-raising kicked off in 2020 when he completed seven marathons in seven days. The following year he ran 101 miles from Leicester, where he then worked, to Leeds in just 24 hours. Sinfield and his team covered more than 40 miles each day during last year’s run from Scotland to Old Trafford, but the seven-time Grand Final winner reckons the latest is his toughest challenge so far.

“It’s lack of preparation time,” he explained. “I was at the [rugby union] World Cup for two months and before that I was in camp for three months. In terms of long runs, up until the start of November I hadn’t done any for five months so I am probably a little bit under-done, run-wise and from a preparation point of view.

“There are a thousand reasons why we shouldn’t go again and I am not going to make any excuses at all, but there’s one big reason why we should and that’s Rob and representing the MND community.”

The 7 in 7 in 7 Challenge’s main beneficiaries will be the MND Association and Leeds Hospitals Charity’s appeal to build the Rob Burrow Centre for MND in Leeds. There will also be donations to My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, the Irish MND Association and the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation plus support for the 4ED campaign to support former Gloucester and Leicester Rugby Union player Ed Slater. Donations can be made here or by texting Kevin10 to 70143 to donate £10, or Kevin20 to the same number to donate £20.