Kevin Sinfield’s latest fundraising bid in aid of motor neurone disease saw donations push beyond £600,000 after day five of his Ultra 7 in 7 Challenge.
The former Leeds Rhinos captain is aiming to run around 40 miles for seven consecutive days before reaching Old Trafford at half-time in Saturday’s Rugby League World Cup final.
Following Thursday’s 41-mile leg from Stokesley to York, the running total of donations stood at just over £620,000.
Sinfield’s route – during which he was joined by former Rhinos team-mate Jamie Peacock and also briefly met up with his wife Jayne – saw him head south through Knayton towards Thirsk, passing through Clifton and Bootham before finishing the day’s run in front of hundreds of well-wishers outside York Minster.
Speaking ahead of Thursday’s departure, against a background of wind and rain, Sinfield said on BBC Breakfast: “People with MND don’t get to chose do they? We wanted it to be tough.
“The great thing about today is we are all a bit busted, but I have got four great friends running with us today who bring a load of energy and the support has been incredible, we can’t thank people enough.”
The 42-year-old is inspired by his close friend and former team-mate Rob Burrow, who was diagnosed with MND in late 2019, as well as former Scotland rugby player Doddie Weir and ex-Bradford captain Stephen Darby, who live with the disease.
For Friday’s leg, Sinfield is set to leave York and head over 35 miles to Bradford. He will pass the Knavesmire racecourse and go on to Tadcaster before running towards Leeds Beckett University, passing the Rob Burrow mural on the way.
At Headingley Stadium, Sinfield is set to meet up with Burrow, before heading off again over the River Aire at Kirkstall and on towards Bramley and Bradford Cathedral, then finishing at Valley Parade around 3:30pm.
Sinfield remains on schedule to finish his challenge on the pitch at Old Trafford during the men’s World Cup final between Australia and Samoa.
His latest fundraising challenge will mainly benefit 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 MND Scotland, My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation and the 4ED campaign, in support of former Gloucester and Leicester rugby player Ed Slater, who was recently diagnosed with the disease.
In late 2020, Sinfield raised £2.7million for MND charities after running seven marathons in seven days and a further sum in excess of £1m was generated in November 2021 after he completed a run of 101 miles in 24 hours.