‘The support has been incredible’: Kevin Sinfield completes 101 mile MND charity run

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 9:24 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 9:24 am
The rugby coach took on a 101 mile challenge to raise money for charity (Photo: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

Kevin Sinfield has officially completed his 101 Extra Mile Challenge in a bid to raise money for charity.

The run saw the rugby coach complete 24 segments of 7km over the course of 24 hours.

This is everything you need to know.

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Who is Kevin Sinfield?

Sinfield is a former England rugby player who is currently the defence coach for the Leicester Tigers.

Born in Oldham, Greater Manchester, on 12 September 1980, the 41-year-old made his first team debut for Leeds at the age of 16.

Over the course of his career, Sinfield became a seven-time Super League champion, two time Challenge Cup and triple World Cup Challenge winner. He concluded his rugby league career as the most decorated domestic professional player in England history.

He is also the Super League’s record appearance holder and points-scorer. In 2014, he was given an MBE for his services to rugby league.

In 2016, Sinfield was appointed as Rugby Director of the Rugby Football League, and helped lead England to the 2017 Rugby League World Cup final.

Most recently, Sinfield was awarded an OBE in the 2021 Queen's Birthday Honours, for services to rugby league, and his charitable fundraising efforts.

In 2020, Sinfield ran seven marathons in seven days in a bid to raise £77,777 for ex-Leeds teammate Rob Burrow who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) the year prior.

He managed to raise a whopping £2.7 million.

Sinfield joined the Leicester Tigers as defence coach ahead of the 2021/22 season.

Why is he running 101 miles?

Sinfield has embarked on a new fundraising challenge, inspired again by former teammate Rob Burrows.

The Extra Mile Challenge will see Sinfield run from the Tigers’ Welford Road ground to Headingley – the length of almost four marathons – non-stop inside 24 hours.

He began the route on Monday 22 November, with the run itself split into 7km segments which, Sinfield explains on his fundraising page, “must be completed within an hour before the next one starts on the hour”.

Originally the route was going to cover 100 miles, but in reality the final distance is actually 101 miles, hence the name of the challenge.

The money that Sinfield raises will be split between two charities - the MND Association and the Leeds Hospitals Charity appeal to build a new care centre in Leeds that will bear Burrows’ name.

Sinfield completed the challenge at 8:30am this morning (Tuesday 23 November), right on schedule with his timetable.

The official MND Association Twitter account wrote: “HE’s DONE IT #THEEXTRAMILE COMPLETED!

“Congratulations Kevin. What you have done in the last 24 hours has been truly remarkable. We will never forget it Sir Kev. You are our hero. Thank you for everything.”

How much has he raised?

At the time of publication, donations for the rugby coach have far surpassed the £520,000 mark, which is 522% of his original £100,000 target.

Sinfield has said that he has been overwhelmed by the response to his fundraising challenge.

After arriving at Harthill, he posted a video to the official Leeds Rhinos Twitter account where he said: “We’re 13 in, thanks to everybody who has given so far. You’ve made a huge difference.

“The support has been incredible.

“Please keep giving, it will make a huge difference to everyone in the MND community. Thank you.”

How to donate?

For those looking to donate, you can do so by visiting Sinfield's Extra Mile Challenge webpage.

Alternatively, you can donate £3 by texting the name Kevin to 70143.

What is MND?

MND, which stands for Motor Neurone Disease, is a condition that affects the brain and nerves which causes weakness that gets worse over time.

The NHS says that MND is “caused by a problem with cells in the brain and nerves called motor neurons”. These cells gradually stop working over time, and it’s not known why this happens.

There is currently no cure for MND, but there are some treatments that can help reduce the impact it has on a person.

The NHS says: “MND can significantly shorten life expectancy and, unfortunately, eventually leads to death.”

The NHS says that early symptoms of MND include:

  • Weakness in the ankle or leg - you might trip, or find it harder to do things like climb stairs
  • Slurred speech, which can develop into difficulty with swallowing
  • A weak grip - you might drop things or find it difficult to do tasks like opening a jar
  • Muscle cramps and twitches
  • Weight loss
  • Difficulty stopping from crying or laughing in inappropriate situations

MND mainly affects people in their 60s and 70s, but can affect anyone regardless of their age.

It can be difficult to diagnose MND in its early stages as there’s no single test for it, and many other conditions can cause similar symptoms.