Ireland

Charlie Bird hails ‘inspiration’ Kevin Sinfield for ultramarathons in aid of MND

Kevin Sinfield meets RTE presenter Charlie Bird (right) and Martin Watson Croft at Croke Park (Niall Carson/PA)
Kevin Sinfield meets RTE presenter Charlie Bird (right) and Martin Watson Croft at Croke Park (Niall Carson/PA) Kevin Sinfield meets RTE presenter Charlie Bird (right) and Martin Watson Croft at Croke Park (Niall Carson/PA)

Former RTE journalist Charlie Bird has paid tribute to English rugby league legend Kevin Sinfield, as he continued a mammoth marathon challenge in aid of motor neurone disease (MND).

England Rugby defence coach Kevin Sinfield set off on day five of the “7 in 7 in 7” challenge on a bitterly cold day in Dublin.

The team is running an ultra-marathon every day for seven days in seven cities around Britain and Ireland, inspired by his former Leeds Rhinos team mate and fellow MND Association patron Rob Burrow.

Mr Bird, who has MND, thanked Mr Sinfield for his efforts.

Kevin Sinfield’s 7 in 7 in 7 Challenge – Day Five – Dublin
Kevin Sinfield’s 7 in 7 in 7 Challenge – Day Five – Dublin Kevin Sinfield (second right) with his support team in Croke Park (Niall Carson/PA)

He said: “You are an absolute inspiration. I have cried every day watching you running marathon after marathon, raising awareness and funds for MND all in the name of your best friend Rob Burrow.

“The money you have made is fantastic. He is a very lucky man to have a friend like you. I saw the picture of you carrying Rob over the finish line of one of your marathons, what an iconic image.”

Mr Sinfield said it was “an honour” for the team to be in Dublin and representing Mr Bird.

He said the team was a “little bit tired and a little bit busted” on day five of the challenge.

Speaking at a media event at Croke Park GAA stadium, he said: “We’re really looking forward to running Dublin, we’re looking forward to running with Charlie.

“We’ve followed your story for some time Charlie, it’s incredible what you’ve done.”

Fighting back tears, he added: “Over the last three years we’ve ran in some pretty special places and I think through the work our Doddie [Weir] did in Scotland in particular and through the UK, hopefully we’ve added to some of that in Rob’s name, and finally shown people how beautiful the MND community are and they need our support.”

Mr Sinfield said: “MND doesn’t pick locations, it’s everywhere. We’ve got to fight together, we’ve got to come together and that’s part of why we’re here.”

He joked that the team would be listening to Mr Bird’s musical idol Bruce Springsteen during the run.

Covering a distance of almost 44km, Mr Sinfield set off from Croke Park on his personal challenge at noon, on a route taking him through parts of Phibsborough, Ashtown, the Phoenix Park, Inchicore, Crumin, Rathgar, UCD and finishing at the Aviva Stadium at about 4pm.

Mr Sinfield will move on to the penultimate stage in Brighton on Wednesday, followed by his final route, which will conclude with him running up the Mall in London on Thursday.

–  To donate to Kevin Sinfield’s 7 in 7 in 7 quest, see https://donate.giveasyoulive.com/fundraising/kevin-sinfield.