‘We should all have people in our lives that we would carry and trust to be carried over the line’
Having pushed his mate 26.2 miles in his wheelchair, Kevin Sinfield stopped just short of the finish line of the Leeds Marathon in an amazing gesture of friendship.
Sinfield, the England rugby union defence coach, lifted Rob Burrow out of the chair, hoisted him into his arms, and carried him the final steps as he gave his mate a celebratory kiss.
The tender moment has gone viral on social media with over 600,000 views in less than two hours.
Former England, Great Britain and Leeds Rhinos player Burrow, 40, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2019, and his life has changed dramatically since. He now communicates using a computer voice system.
Sinfield, 42, has raised over £8million for motor neurone disease charities since his former Rhinos team-mate was diagnosed.
Sunday’s inaugural Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon was as much “a celebration of friendship” as it was a vital charity fundraiser, with Sinfield saying before the race: “I ran the London Marathon three weeks ago and everyone wants to know what your time was but this, it doesn’t matter how long it takes. The longer it takes, the more time I get to spend with him so I’m really looking forward to it.”
The marathon, plus the Leeds Half Marathon which also took place today, was held by Leeds City Council in partnership with Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All charity and has already surpassed the £1m mark.
Sinfield told the PA news agency: “To raise money for the MND Association and the Leeds Hospitals Charity is really important, but this is also about a celebration of friendship.
“We get the chance to do it together with 12,500 people and hopefully people will come out and see us and say hello out on the streets supporting.”
Event organisers have been inspired to stage the city’s first marathon in 20 years by Sinfield’s previous running challenges.
Sinfield, 42, pushed Burrow in a specially-adapted wheelchair.
He has completed a number of running challenges. In November, he ran seven back-to-back ultra-marathons; in 2020 he an seven marathons in seven days and in 2021, completed a 101-mile run in 24 hours.
Burrow’s wife, Lindsey, also took part in her first full marathon Sunday, despite having a knee injury.