Kevin Sinfield puts best foot forward in marathon effort

KEVIN Sinfield faced the challenge of pounding the streets of London in the hottest marathon ever – and tackled it head on.

And he insists players' wellbeing is at the heart of everything he does in his role with the England national side.

 Kevin Sinfield completed the London Marathon course in the hottest ever conditions

Mark Robinson – The Sun
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Kevin Sinfield completed the London Marathon course in the hottest ever conditions

Clubs down under were initially against England's clash with New Zealand in Denver on June 23.

Altitude, insurance and travel were the first concerns for the sides the likes of Sam Burgess, James Graham and Gareth Widdop play for. Once those were debunked, the attention turned to what was termed ‘commercial considerations’ over the deal, which will see the RFL pocket in the region of £280,000.

Those arguments only proved to be a motivation for RFL rugby director Sinfield, who said: "It fuelled some of my runs. For the last couple of months, it’s kept me sane.

“It kept me on track to get things sorted and some of the players were desperate for the game to go ahead.”

Listen to some, especially in Australia, and England and New Zealand should not be playing in Denver, which stands at 5,800 feet, and putting players based there through near 20-hour journeys.

 Sinfield starred for England as a player. Now he is the man looking to get the national side to the top.

Rex Features
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Sinfield starred for England as a player. Now he is the man looking to get the national side to the top.

But Sinfield has an answer – things being put in place are being done to make things better, better than when he played anyway.

He added as he hinted plans will kick in over the next eight years: “I understand some of the concerns but people have to understand that players are far more important than any one game.

“If people don’t think the players are at the forefront of what England Rugby League is trying to do, they’re wrong.

“No stone has been left unturned and having been a player myself, I understand players’ needs and what they expect. They’re probably looked after better than I was.

“Take the 2012 Grand Final. I was knocked out then carried on. Today the player comes first and they come off straight away. The player’s health and his brain is far more important.”

 Sinfield is a Leeds Rhinos legend after a stellar playng career

PA:Press Association
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Sinfield is a Leeds Rhinos legend after a stellar playng career

Before heading to Denver, Sinfield endured about three-and-a-half hours of pain as he and training partner Chris Stephenson ran the 26.2 miles of the marathon course on Sunday.

The 37-year-old did it in three hours 36 minutes and has raised almost £4,000 for Prostate Cancer UK.

And he is ready for the expected heat, saying: “It’s not a race for me, it’s a challenge and the heat will only add to that.

“Training has been tough but I’ve always trained ever since I finished playing.

“I just feel like I need it to be a better person and it was great to raise funds, and most importantly awareness as to me, the disease is becoming a silent killer, for Prostate Cancer UK.”

KEVIN Sinfield and Chris Stephenson are running the London Marathon in aid of Prostate Cancer UK. To sponsor them, visit virginmoneygiving.com/sinfieldandstephenson

KEVIN Sinfield faced the challenge of pounding the streets of London in the hottest marathon ever – and tackled it head on.