Marathon man Kevin Sinfield hailed as game’s great ambassador
LEEDS Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington says Kevin Sinfield is a “terrific asset” to rugby league having created more national profile than anyone else in the sport’s history and now the game has to follow his example.
The Rhinos legend yesterday completed the epic challenge of running seven marathons in seven days – all under four hours –in aid of former Leeds team-mate Rob Burrow and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.
Having set out initially to raise £77,777, the total had reached an astonishing £1.1m when the former Leeds and England captain crossed the finish line for the last time yet that total has now passed £2m.
Rhinos director of rugby Sinfield, 40, was up early again this morning for a live interview in the BBC Breakfast studio and his stunning exploits earned headlines across the country.
Hetherington, who has known the seven-time Grand Final winning captain since he joined Rhinos as a junior player, said: “Kev is now a terrific asset to the game.
“Rugby league has never ever in my involvement had the coverage – quality or quantity – of national publicity that it has experienced over the last seven days.
“In Kevin Sinfield, the game –not just Leeds Rhinos – has a terrific brand and a terrific ambassador.
“You’d like to think that the sport can now take the lead from some of the messages that Kevin has delivered in terms of teamwork, everyone being together and working on the same line. Those are absolutely the sort of messages that the game of rugby league now has to deploy itself as it now enters a difficult future.
“He really has been an inspiration for everyone in the game.”
Looking back at the great Wigan side of the late 1980s and early 1990s that produced a raft of international stars, Hetherington added: “Ellery (Hanley), Shaun Edwards and Martin Offiah reached the sporting sector of our nation because of their prowess as sportsmen.
“But what Kevin has done is he’s touched everybody. He’s reached every sector of our society and that is absolutely unprecedented.
“And he’s done it in such a respectful and considered way that it brings credit to obviously him but also to the sport and in a way that’s never been done before.”
Hetherington always believed Sinfield would complete the challenge.
“Paul Wellens (former St Helens and Great Britain full-back) put an interesting Tweet out earlier this week saying once Kevin had said he was going to do it, he considered it job done. But, of course, anyone who has done any form of running knows, if you are going to run a marathon, there’s a good chance you will get a strain of some sort.
“So it is quite a remarkable feat for any human being to do seven marathons in seven days especially all under four hours but to do it without suffering some muscle strain or pull is actually quite remarkable.
“That’s typical of Kevin. He’s got enormous coverage and publicity and that’s part of it; people are so in awe of that feat being completed.”
You can donate at: justgiving.com/crowdfunding/sinfield-7-in-7
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