Tony Smith has hailed Kevin Sinfield a “real champion” after his former Leeds Rhinos captain completed seven marathons in seven days in support of Rob Burrow.
The 40-year-old had originally set a target of £77,777 but his fundraising page crossed the £1million mark during his final run around Saddleworth on Monday and at midday on Wednesday was pushing towards £2.5m.
Sinfield is hopeful his fundraising efforts will not only support Burrow as he battles motor neurone disease and give his family a secure future, but also help discover a cure for the terminal illness.
It was a superhuman effort by the former England skipper to complete each marathon in under four hours and Smith was blown away by the achievement.
“Incredible, just incredible,” the current KR head coach told Hull Live.
“To put himself through that in order to do something great for one of his team-mates is fantastic.
“Words can’t do it justice, the significance of what he’s done but also why he’s done it.”
Sinfield was Burrow’s captain for the majority of his 17-year career with Leeds and has been a rock for his old team-mate since he was diagnosed with MND late last year.
Smith coached both players during his time at Headingley between 2004 and 2007, as well as at international level.
He says Sinfield is showing the same leadership qualities that made him the most successful captain in Leeds’ history.
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“I think everybody knew that Kevin would walk over hot coals or run seven marathons for you if you needed him to,” Smith added.
“He displayed that on the field as well. As good a player as he was on the field, he was even better off the field as a person. He’s a real champion.”
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