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What is the 7 in 7 in 7 Challenge? Kevin Sinfield takes on race for MND charities

Kevin Sinfield (David Davies / PA)
Kevin Sinfield (David Davies / PA)

Kevin Sinfield will be running ultra-marathons to support those with motor neurone disease (MND) in December.

The English rugby star was inspired by his friend Rob Burrow, who was diagnosed with MND in 2019, to undertake the 7 in 7 in 7 challenge through cities across Great Britain and Ireland.

When giving his reasons for planning the challenge, Sinfield said there were about 5,000 of them but pointed to his former teammate and added: "The biggest reason is sat right there."

Ex-Leeds Rhinos rugby league player Kevin Sinfield (R) with former teammate Rob Burrow (George Wood / Getty Images)
Ex-Leeds Rhinos rugby league player Kevin Sinfield (R) with former teammate Rob Burrow (George Wood / Getty Images)

On BBC Breakfast, the England defence coach said running "has been a great way of celebrating the MND community and celebrating Rob, and showing people we care. The support we have had has been amazing.

“We are aware we have not been to the south and felt it is important to go to the south because there is a large number of people with MND down there – we wanted to go to Wales and Ireland."

This challenge will mark yet another undertaken by Sinfield, who has raised millions through sponsored running for MND charities since 2019.

Who is Kevin Sinfield?

Kevin Sinfield OBE is an English rugby union coach who began playing rugby league at Waterhead ARLFC. He was also a player, captain, and director for Leeds Rhinos.

Sinfield rose to fame as he led the Leeds Rhinos to seven Super League championships, two Challenge Cup wins, and broke the record as the highest points-scorer in Super League history.

The defensive coach also played for the Leicester Tigers before joining the England Senior Men’s setup in December 2022.

What is the 7 in 7 in 7 challenge?

Sinfield will embark on what will be "physically my toughest" challenge with his team.The 7 in 7 in 7 challenge will see them run an ultra-marathon every day for seven days in seven cities across Great Britain and Ireland. They will aim to complete each day's run in four-hour windows.

Each marathon is simply one with an added mile, the last representing the extra mile people will go to help a friend out, Sinfield said. He will run through Leeds, Cardiff, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Dublin, Brighton and, finally, London.

This morning, he received support from Headingly, Yorkshire residents who waved him off.

Proceeds will go to multiple charities, including the Rob Burrow appeal once the marathons have happened in December, marking four years since Burrow was diagnosed in December 2019.

What is MND?

Motor neurone disease is an uncommon condition affecting the brains and nerves of people typically around the age of 60 and 70, making them suffer extreme weakness. It is less likely to target younger individuals.

While there is no cure for MND, treatments may reduce the impact.

According to the NHS, symptoms may include:

  • weakness in the ankle or leg making it harder to climb stairs

  • slurred speech, which may develop into difficulty swallowing some foods

  • a weak grip

  • muscle cramps and twitches

  • weight loss

  • difficulty preventing crying or laughing in inappropriate situations

Visit the website for further information and to find support.