Fundraiser extraordinaire Kevin Sinfield paid an emotional tribute to York as he completed the first of seven ultra marathons outside the Minster.
Kevin today embarked on the ‘7 in 7 in 7 Challenge’ – to run seven ultra marathons in seven cities in seven days.
The opening leg saw him pound the streets from Leeds to York, and his ultimate quest is to raise £777,777 for Motor Neurone Disease charities – inspired by his former Leeds Rhinos team-mate Rob Burrow.
Struggling to hold back the tears, Kevin addressed the large crowd who had gathered to cheer him over the finish line.
“Thank you very much for coming out again today. We came here last year, and you’ve made it just as special,” Kevin said.
“This is a place we talked about. We got a wonderful finish at Old Trafford last year – that was great for so many different reasons – but York’s been a really special place for us.
“We know you love Rob Burrow like we do. We also know that you love the MND community like us.”
He said there was an important message at this time which is “how important friendship is, and family.
“So if there’s someone you’ve not spoken to for a couple of months and you’ve had a daft falling out or whatever, please pick the phone up. Let’s look after each other.”
Kevin started his fundraising quest in support of Rob in 2020, when he ran seven marathons in seven days, and the following year he ran 101 miles in under 24 hours from Welford Road in Leicester to Headingley.
Last year, his ‘7 in 7’ challenge concluded on the pitch at half-time during the men’s World Cup final between Australia and New Zealand at Old Trafford.
This year, Kevin’s final leg will lead him from Twickenham Stadium to The Mall, the traditional finish of the London Marathon.
Since starting his ultra-marathon quest in 2020, the 43-year-old has raised over £8 million to help fund research and help those with MND, and he has vowed he will continue to undertake his marathon quest until a cure can be found.
His quest drew praise from snooker great Ronnie O’Sullivan, who was competing in the UK Championship less than a mile from the finish line in York.
Despite admitting to have “never heard” of Sinfield or his previous quests, O’Sullivan said: “I admire what he’s trying to do, for sure. There’s some serious effort going into that, good luck to him.”