Kevin Sinfield ends ultra marathon challenge to raucous reception

Kevin Sinfield smashed through the £1.4million barrier as he completed his Ultra 7 in 7 Challenge at Old Trafford at half-time in the men’s Rugby League World Cup final between Australia and Samoa.

Sinfield received the raucous acclaim of the near-capacity crowd in the stadium, having exceeded his initial fundraising target of #777,777 in aid of motor neurone disease earlier in the day.

The 42-year-old completed his seven back-to-back ultra-marathons inspired by his former Leeds Rhinos team-mate Rob Burrow, along with with former Scotland rugby player Doddie Weir and ex-Bradford City captain Stephen Darby, who also live with the disease.

Sinfield emerged onto the Old Trafford pitch
Sinfield emerged onto the Old Trafford pitch (Tim Goode/PA)

Sinfield said: “The full rugby league community have got behind the MND community. I can’t thank you enough.

“It’s all about friendship and the love for Rob. I know everybody feels the same way I do about Rob Burrow. If we can all try to be a better friend from time to time, we can all have a bit of a better place to live in.

“It’s a just a massive thank you. We’ve met some incredible people. It shows our country cares. I can’t thank people enough. They’ve given their support and voted with their money as well.”

Sinfield started the challenge at Murrayfield in Edinburgh on Sunday, and the final leg of his route took him from Valley Parade in Bradford via Halifax, Saddleworth, Failsworth and Deansgate in Manchester.

The proceeds 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.