A team of runners will take part in a special Great Manchester Run, passing Old Trafford, to raise funds for Rob Burrow.
Rob Burrow’s sensational 33rd minute try in the 2011 Grand Final is widely regarded as the greatest seen in the Theatre of Dreams season finale. Burrow has since described it as the biggest moment of his career, not realising on the night exactly what he had done.
With the scores tied at 16 all, a similar long distance effort in the 69th minute of that epic contest sent his winger Ryan Hall in for the game defining try. Leeds racked up their fifth title and Burrow took home his second Harry Sunderland trophy.
The bravery, agility, vision and speed he showed in those moments and throughout his career won him the respect and admiration of his team mates, opponents and fans across the game.
The announcement of his MND diagnosis in an interview with BBC’s Tanya Arnold last December has spurred many people into action and brought an outpouring of support and generosity never before seen in rugby league.
It has prompted messages of support from, among others, Wayne Rooney and a Stevie Ward inspired piece of comedy gold from Ricky Gervais.
In a further show of the esteem in which he is held, a team of less than famous rugby league fans is being assembled with the aim of completing its own Great Manchester Run, passing right by the scene of Burrow’s finest moment.
With the help of the Great Run Company and Phil Daly at Leeds Rhinos, the team will be raising funds for Burrow whilst also hoping to play a small part keeping MND at the forefront of public awareness.
Burrow & the RB7GMR team, as it has been titled, are to be a focus of the BBC coverage of the event.
In that December interview, Burrow spoke of his meeting with Doddie Weir which helped him find a positive path. He was also quick to recognise that as a sportsman with a profile and with a wealth of support, he is in a far more fortuitous position than the man in the street.
Several high profile sportsmen, including 61 cap Scotland RU giant Weir, have been afflicted by this debilitating disease, for which there is no cure.
Our own Mike Gregory and Mark Burgess back in 2007. The Springbok great Joost van der Westhuizen, and footballers Lenny Johnrose and latterly Stephen Darby.
The idea is that fans from all clubs, and other sports, will come together and run in club shirts with some of Burrow’s peers hopefully taking up the challenge on his behalf. We will start together, run together and finish together as a team.
The phenomenal publicity Burrow has so far generated around MND along with the BBC coverage of his team might one day help find a cure, or at the very least help the less fortunate people he spoke of when facing his own stark reality.
In his very recent BBC 5 Live interview Burrow described how, as a player, he would often push his body through the pain barrier. Old injuries, his illness and the need for some normality and time to be a dad and husband after a tumultuous few weeks, now mean he has to listen, take note and respect his body far more. Ordinarily, his name would be first on any team sheet, but for this one in Manchester on the 24th May, he has, for now, got to hold himself back.
Being the sort of man he is, Burrow would not want to commit to taking a spot in his RB7GMR team for fear of letting his team mates or anyone else down. No one would ever think that of him. It’s just the way he is as a bloke. And he’s far from boring.
Anyone who would like a place in what will be a very special team in the largest participation 10k in Europe should email RB7GMR@outlook.com or tweet us at @RB7GMR or find us on Facebook.