Rob Burrow Leeds marathon explained: Where MND inspired marathon will take place, what Kevin Sinfield has said

The Rob Burrow Marathon will be set up in 2023 in honour of Rugby League player

In 2023, a new marathon will be set up in Leeds to honour the Leeds Rhinos Rugby league legend Rob Burrow.

Burrow was diagnosed with Motor neurone disease in 2019 and has since gone on to raise millions of pounds for charity.

The marathon idea was inspired by Burrow’s former teammate Kevin Sinfield, who has set himself running challenges in order to raise money and awareness for the disease.

The MND Association - an organisation which supports people with the disease - will also benefit from the marathon.

Burrow and his family will be spearheading a £5 million appeal to build an MND centre in the city where he spent his athletic career.

After the announcement of the marathon, Burrow said: “Any opportunity to raise awareness and funds to fight MND is wonderful.”

His teammate Sinfield has said that the support from the people of Leeds and beyond has been ‘amazing’.

Sinfield explained: “The event is a vital next step in ensuring we raise even more money, and help to make Rob’s dream of opening a new MND Care Centre in Leeds a reality.”

Where will the Marathon take place?

This will be the first time Leeds have hosted a marathon since 2003 and the route will both start and end at Headingley Stadium, where Burrow used to play.

It will be a 26.2 mile route around Leeds with the money raised going towards Leeds Hospitals Charities appeal in the hope of building the Rob Burrow Centre for MND.

There will be 7,777 entrants for the marathon, as a mark of recognition towards the number 7 shirt Burrow wore while playing for the Rhinos.

It is set to take place in May 2023 although the exact date is yet to be confirmed.

Burrow was known as the ‘smallest man in the Super League'Burrow was known as the ‘smallest man in the Super League'
Burrow was known as the ‘smallest man in the Super League'

Who is Rob Burrow?

Burrow was born in Pontefract, West Yorkshire, in 1982. He is a former professional rugby league footballer and spent 16 years playing for the Leeds Rhinos in the Super League.

He was a former scrum-half and hooker standing at just 5 ft 5 in and weighing less than 11stone.

He was often known as ‘the smallest player in the Super League’ but was one of the most successful in the competition’s history.

The 39-year-old won a total of eight Super League titles, two Challenge Cups and was named in the Super League Dream Team on three occasions.

Between 2001 and 2017, Burrow played 493 matches for the Rhinos and scored 198 tries.

He also earned 15 caps for his country.

Burrow went public with his motor neurone disease diagnosis in December 2019 and a year later, was appointed MBE in the 2021 New Years Honours List for his services to the rugby league and the motor neurone disease community.

Who is his teammate, Kevin Sinfield?

Sinfield was born in Oldham, Greater Manchester in 1980 and played for the Leeds Rhinos between 1997 and 2015 as a loose forward but he also played in the halves and at hooker.

He has 521 caps for his club as well as 26 caps for his country.

He now works as the defence coach for the Leicester Tigers who play in the top division of English Rugby Union.

Burrow, left, and former teammate Kevin Sinfield after Sinfield completed Extra Mile Challenge in 2021Burrow, left, and former teammate Kevin Sinfield after Sinfield completed Extra Mile Challenge in 2021
Burrow, left, and former teammate Kevin Sinfield after Sinfield completed Extra Mile Challenge in 2021

Sinfield is widely regarded as one of the greatest kickers in rugby league history. The 41-year-old became the first rugby league player to be nominated for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Award and finished in second place behind Andy Murray in 2015.

In 2021, Sinfield was awarded an OBE for his services to Rugby League Football and Charitable fundraising.

This was also the year that Sinfield completed a run of 101 miles in 24 hours in order to raise money for MND research - he raised more than £1 million.

Back in 2020, Sinfield ran seven marathons in seven days, to raise £77,777 in funds for his former teammate. By the time Sinfield began his first race, the target was already in excess of £77,777 and after the conclusion of the seventh, Sinfield had raised over £2million.