Kevin Sinfield drops hint at next MND fundraising mission as Leeds Rhinos legend admits to feeling ‘massively humbled’

Ben Olawumi
Kevin Sinfield

Kevin Sinfield on the final day of his 7 in 7 in 7 challenge - Alamy

Kevin Sinfield has teased a fifth MND fundraising challenge, vowing his ‘body’s still alright’ to go again as he detailed how ‘massively humbled’ he is by all the support received.

Earlier this month, Sinfield and his team completed their fourth instalment, the 7 in 7 in 7 challenge which saw them run seven ultramarathons in seven days across seven different cities in the UK and Ireland.

The donations for that challenge surpassed the £1 million mark over the weekend, with enough money now raised to build ‘The ‘Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease’ in honour of Sinfield’s long-time pal and former Leeds Rhinos team-mate Burrow, who continues his fight against MND having been diagnosed back in 2019.

Circa 189 miles were run this time around, a marathon a day plus an extra mile for seven days straight, and that’s before taking into account all the travelling between the cities on trains, planes and automobiles.

Sinfield isn’t going to stop just yet though, re-iterating this morning that ‘it’s been worth every step’.

Kevin Sinfield drops hint at next MND fundraising mission as Leeds Rhinos legend admits to feeling ‘massively humbled’

In an interview on BBC Breakfast, the Rhinos legend hinted at a fifth challenge being in the pipeline, saying: “My body’s alright, so we’ll take a bit of time to reflect, but there is the possibility of doing another one.

“It’s been worth every step. I think we’re about £9 million (raised overall) now with some of the Gift Aid. People in the UK and Ireland care about people with MND, and it’s all in Rob’s name.

“It’s massively humbling, because you think we set out just over three years ago doing seven marathons for a mate and there were six of us.

“Suddenly, I’ve met all of these amazing people who have been challenged by MND – their families, their friends and their support.

“Add to that the work that you guys (BBC) have done and the support you’ve shown, it’s all been a massive team effort.

“Logistically this time, it’s been much bigger than we’ve ever done before, and there’s not an events team behind this, it’s put together by a group of friends.

“There are a couple of guys who run with me – Chris and Dave – and then we’ve got the bikers including my good friend Daryl who’s been there with me every challenge and every dark moment at 5am in Saddleworth.

“It’s an unbelievable team, we came together again on Friday morning and it was seamless, and that’s what good teams do. I can’t do it without them, they’ve been great.

“I’m really proud to be a part of the MND community. I think it’s a beautiful community, and we’ll just keep trying to raise money.”

Sinfield details ‘most difficult’ challenge yet – The 7 in 7 in 7

During the interview on the infamous red BBC Breakfast sofa, the Oldham-born rugby league icon was shown messages of thanks and support from the MND community he referenced – people suffering with the disease, those around people suffering, and those who have sadly lost people to it were all involved.

Sinfield added ‘the extra mile’ onto each day’s marathon in his latest challenge to evidence the extra mile that people can go to when helping friends through tough times.

Talking about the 7 in 7 in 7, Sinfield said: “I was tired and some bits weren’t working like they should, but that’s the great thing about the human body, you fix up pretty quickly.

“When you think about those living with MND, they don’t fix up, and they don’t get better every day. That’s the fortunate position that we are in, that we can run and be okay.

“It was the most difficult and that was for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the lack of preparation and running time going in. I was away at the World Cup with the England (rugby union) team, and you can run, but you can’t do any long distances, so I had a month to get ready.

“Then the travel, we were getting into the hotels at midnight with a quick turnaround, six hours sleep and we’d be trying to get ready to run again.

“The travel made it difficult, but it actually added to it. It made it even more special and so did the extra miles, spending time with the MND community.

“Although they were fleeting miles because it was a quick chat and run together, and we were on the clock because we wanted them all to be under four hours, the people that we met were all unbelievable again.”

‘People understand now, and that’s really important’

As already noted, Sinfield and his team have now raised enough for a centre to be built in Leeds in Burrow‘s name for those suffering with MND.

The current England Rugby Union coach continued: “The Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon in May, over 12,000 people ran in Rob’s name, and then there’s different fundraising events that have taken place to make this centre a reality.

“This is going to be bricks and mortar, a place for people to go, but how people feel about the MND community now has changed and that’s been really important to our team.

“I know it’s important to Rob. People with MND have talked for years about being ashamed of coming out of the house because people don’t understand. People understand now, and that’s really important.”

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