Carrbrook man goes on the run – for Rob

A CARRBROOK man is in the final stages of his preparation to go on the run – by doing a marathon in the name of one of his idols.

Simon Barry will pound the 26.2 mile course of the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon on Sunday, May 14.

He will be one of more than 10,000 people running the event set up in the name of one of his rugby league heroes.

The Leeds Rhinos legend’s bravery as he lives with motor neurone disease after being diagnosed in 2019, as well as the multi-million pound fundraising efforts of friend and team-mate Kevin Sinfield, has captured many hearts and minds.

And Simon, who admitted his only previous athletics experience was doing a fun run as a child in his home city of Leeds, is one of those taking part in the inaugural run after being left being in awe of Burrow’s efforts, both on the field and to raise awareness of the devastating condition.

Simon Barry from Carrbrook

He said: “I’ve followed Leeds Rhinos for years and Rob’s unbelievably emotional and inspirational at the same time. MND is a crazy disease.

“Other than doing a fun run at 13-years-old, that’s it in terms of running. It was probably about three miles and it was like a local fete we had.

“But a week before deciding to do the marathon, I actually had a dream about doing a marathon and doing it within five hours. Then someone at work told me about this marathon being set up.
“I looked online and signed up that evening with the Leeds Hospitals Trust.

“I suppose the target is doing it in five hours but as my colleague, who is a marathon runner, said, ‘Just aim to finish it.’”

Simon, who lives on Huddersfield Road, has another hero who is inspiring him to run the marathon, which is being held in support of held in support of the Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Appeal as well as the MND Association.

Seeing Kevin Sinfield, who ran seven marathons in seven days, 101 miles continuously and seven ultra marathons in seven days, from Murrayfield in Edinburgh to Old Trafford, spurred him into action.

The Saddleworth-based England rugby union defence coach is also set to run the course, pushing his pal in a wheelchair all the way.

Simon added: “What he did was unbelievable. It was such an inspiration.

“Every time I go for a run. I think about the reason I’m doing it and getting out, even in the rain – ‘Rob is probably sat inside unable to do this.

“’Get your backside out there and do the run for him.’

“When I’m out, I have the fluorescent orange bib on, just to highlight the MNDA cause and show what I’m running for.

“I remember seeing Kevin and Rob play but after seeing Rob retire and the disease take hold and how quickly it came on was just staggering.

“It hits home when it’s someone you remember and idolised.”

Simon’s training went well but he admitted it can be hard, telling The Correspondent: “First week you’re straight out of the door, second week you’re like, ‘Wow,’ and it’s been really hard fitting it in with work.

“My daughters, Isis and Nyla didn’t really understand what I was running for at first, until I showed them footage of Kevin and Rob.

“They think I’m a little crazy but they understand why I’m doing it and my wife Jane is supportive too. I think she sees it as a way of getting me fit too!”

The Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon is held on a brand new route through Leeds that starts and finishes at Headingley Stadium.

It is described as, ‘a fitting tribute to the city that launched Rob’s career and which he calls home.’

The event will be held in support of the Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Appeal as well as the MND Association.

YOU CAN donate to Simon’s fund by clicking

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