England Rugby star Kevin Sinfield coming to Ireland as part of 7 in 7 in 7 ultra marathon challenge

20 Nov 2023

Rugby League legend Kevin Sinfield OBE is coming to Dublin as part of a new epic ultra marathon challenge to raise awareness and funds to support those impacted by motor neurone disease (MND).


A year ago, Sinfield and his team completed his third challenge when they ran from Edinburgh to Manchester, covering over 40 miles a day for seven days. Now the England Rugby Union defensive coach will hit the streets again and this is the first time he will travel to Dublin for one of his ultra marathons which is scheduled for 5th December. 


Since 2020, Sinfield and his team have raised over £8 million (almost €9.2M) with three endurance events that have captured the public’s imagination having been inspired by Sinfield’s former Leeds Rhinos team mate Rob Burrow MBE. 


The fourth and latest fundraiser will combine elements from the three previous challenges. The 7 in 7 in 7 Challenge will see Sinfield and his team run an ultra marathon every day for seven days in seven cities around Great Britain and Ireland. Each run will be a marathon with an extra mile to signify the extra mile people can all go to help their friends in tough times. The extra mile event each day will see invited guests join Sinfield for one mile. The aim is to complete each day's run in under four hours. 


Starting on Friday 1st December, three years to the day since Sinfield started his first 7 In 7 challenge in 2020, the team will leave AMT Headingley Rugby Stadium heading to York Minister in the first leg of the challenge. 


For the first time, the 7 in 7 in 7 Challenge will take the fundraising to multiple cities. On Day Two, the team will travel to Cardiff, finishing the day on the pitch at half time of the United Rugby Championship game between Cardiff and Scarlets at The Arms Park. The third day, on Sunday 3rd December, will start at the Alexandra Stadium in Birmingham, the host of the 2022 Commonwealth Games before travelling around Birmingham, calling at St Andrews, Villa Park and Edgbaston en route to a finish in the city centre of Britain’s second city. 


On the fourth day, the team will head across the border to Edinburgh, crossing the Forth Road Bridge before finishing at Scottish Gas Murrayfield. This will be a poignant moment as not only will it mark the halfway point of the challenge but also evoke memories of seeing Doddie Weir for the last time a year ago as he set Sinfield and the team off at the start of the Ultra 7 in 7 Challenge. 


The team head across the Irish Sea on 5th December to run in Dublin inspired by former Munster Rugby Union coach Paul Darbyshire, who played Rugby League with Warrington and passed away from MND in 2011 when he was just 41. This is the first time the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association (IMNDA) will be involved, inspired by the incredible work done by Charlie Bird who raised over €3 million with his Climb With Charlie campaign. 


On 6th December, Sinfield will head to the South coast of England to Brighton before concluding the challenge on Thursday 7th December running from Twickenham Stadium to the Mall, the traditional finish of the world famous London Marathon. 


The team are inspired by MND sporting warriors Rob Burrow, Ed Slater, Marcus Stewart, Stephen Darby, the late Doddie Weir and the 5,000 other people living with MND, in the UK right now. In Ireland there are more than 450 people living with MND. The initial target is to raise £777,777 (almost €900K) from the challenge. Supporters can show their support now at https://donate.giveasyoulive.com/fundraising/kevin-sinfield


The 7 in 7 in 7 Challenge will support five charities which support and care for people affected by MND and their families, and invest in research to bring us closer to effective treatments and a cure for the disease.  The main beneficiaries will be 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 the Irish Motor Neurone’s Disease Association (IMNDA), My Name’5 Doddie Foundation and the Darby Rimmer MND Foundation plus support for the 4ED campaign to support former Gloucester and Leicester Rugby Union player Ed Slater.


Commenting on his new challenge, Kevin Sinfield said, “Here we go again! I did say last year that the Ultra 7 in 7 would complete the trilogy but there was always that caveat that Rocky 4 was my favourite Rocky film. The MND community have always given us incredible support and we wanted to find a way that we could show that support for more people around the country. I would especially like to thank all the local authorities and councils who have given us their support, it means so much to everyone. 


“Physically this will be my toughest challenge as I have not been able to do the amount of training that I have done previously because of my commitments for the World Cup and we have set an ambitious time target to complete each ultra so people know that we will be pushing ourselves to the limit. I am looking forward to it and seeing all the support out on the streets once again. For the MND community, every second counts and we will be making the most of every step on this challenge to raise awareness, funds and support for that community,” added Sinfield.  


Lillian McGovern is the CEO of the Irish Motor Neurone Disease Association. She said: “We had seen Kevin Sinfield’s previous three challenges which were incredible, and his unwavering commitment to raising awareness for MND is admirable. We are so thankful that Kevin has chosen the IMNDA to be part of his fundraising campaign for his fourth challenge and we can’t wait to join him in Dublin on Tuesday 5th December to cheer him on. Any funds raised will help us improve our services and supports available to people living with MND in Ireland and their families.”

For more information, please contact pr@imnda.ie