Kevin Sinfield embarks on marathon challenge for former team-mate Rob Burrow

Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield’s playing careers ran alongside each other (Image: Phil Daly/Leeds Rhinos/SWpix.com)Sign up to FREE email alerts from MirrorRugbySubscribeWhen you subscribe we will use the information you provide to send you these newsletters. Sometimes they’ll include recommendations for other related newsletters or services we offer. OurPrivacy Noticeexplains more about how we use your data, and your rights. You can unsubscribe at any time.Thank you for subscribingWe have more newslettersShow meSee ourprivacy noticeInvalid Email

Kevin Sinfield has never stopped being Rob Burrow’s team-mate and captain – and will call on memories of their trophy-laden careers together when he starts his toughest challenge today.

Sinfield – 40 and now director of rugby at Leeds Rhinos – is aiming to run seven marathons in seven days all under four hours, raising funds and awareness for the devastating Motor Neurone Disease that Burrow is battling.

Sinfield hopes to raise £77,777 for a gruelling test of endurance that is based around Burrow’s iconic shirt number for the Rhinos. He will tackle different routes based around his Saddleworth home and says he will use the pair’s many happy days together as inspiration when the tough times begin.

Sinfield said: “I was Rob’s captain for 13 years and you spend all those years trying to do what’s best for the team. Just because you’ve finished playing it doesn’t mean it stops there.

Sinfield and Burrow celebrate during their playing careers
(Image: Action Images)

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“When someone in that group falls on hard times and needs a hand, I’ll be at the forefront with the rest who absolutely think the world of him.

“You look at what Barrie McDermott has done, Keith Senior and JP (Jamie Peacock). Although Kylie Leuluai has perhaps not done many challenges he’s certainly been the ring-leader pulling people together. Danny Maguire, Chev Walker, Ryan Bailey, Brett Delaney – all that close group of friends – have stood tall for Rob.

“When it gets a bit dark and you question what on earth you’re doing I will try to remember the good times and funny moments Rob brought us and has shared with us all.”

Sinfield still sees Burrow regularly and says although his physical deterioration is continuing, he maintains the remarkably positive outlook he has carried since his diagnosis last December.

Sinfield said: “He’s fighting as you knew he would. Clearly some things have stopped working and aren’t working as they should do – he’s using his voice player a lot more now but he’s hanging in there.

Sinfield, right with fellow runner Chris Stephenson, has completed marathons before
(Image: Courtesy of Leeds Rhinos)

“He’s doing his best, and the great thing is every time I see him he makes me laugh. He still has that spirit and sparkle in his eye. Whether it’s a daft message he fires out to us or we try to remember good times together, his spirit is there, absolutely.”

Sinfield has been a regular runner since retiring following a short spell in rugby union in 2016. He set himself the target of running two marathons a year, which he fulfilled in 2017, 2018 and 2019 – but admits this challenge is a significant step up.

He added: “In terms of training I’ve tried to research as much as I could just to understand it. I’ve ended up running a number of marathons this year.

“As soon as I started pursuing this, reading up on it it came back that I needed to do three in three as a training run which I did at the end of October and start of November. They say the fifth one will be the hardest so we’ll see.”

You can donate to Sinfield’s challenge here.

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