Rugby league fan to do seven triathlons in seven days in name of Rob Burrow

RUGBY league fan Martyn Clarke is ready to go on the run and his bike, while also getting wet in the name of a player that often ended his hopes, Rob Burrow.

And the Wigan supporter can class himself as dual code as he is being backed by Leeds Rhinos and Sale Sharks in his attempt to do seven half iron man triathlons in seven days.

Martyn will swim 1.2 miles, cycle 56 miles then run a half marathon, lasting seven or eight hours – and repeat every day for a week while raising funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

After seeing Burrow’s story, work colleagues and Team GB swimmer Hector Pardoe, former athlete Jenny Meadows and maybe Olympic silver medallist Keely Hodgkinson will also do legs.

The new 7 in 7 challenge is inspired by Kevin Sinfield’s efforts as he raised close to £5 million to help Burrow and those living with MND.

After running alongside him for part of his 101-mile 'The Extra Mile' trek from Leeds to Leicester, that only spurred him on ahead of tomorrow’s start date.

And even though Burrow was a thorn in his side, there is no better reason to put himself through it.

Martyn said: “I used to sit in the Wigan end with my lad and watched them at Grand Finals and the Challenge Cup semi-final.

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“Rob was running around everyone and we just couldn’t get hold of him.

“Then I met him and his family and we were chatting away. It’s tragic what’s happening and he’s the reason I’m doing it.”

Martyn has a reason closer to home for putting himself through it, neighbour Cris Hoskin was there when Sinfield spoke on TV about his 101-mile challenge after losing six loved ones to MND.

“I didn’t know anything about MND last year,” Martyn admitted. “I knew about cancer and things like that but she told me what £500 means, what £1,000 means.

“She also talked about the practicalities of living with MND – things like if someone has a garden, you lift the plants so that person can carry on gardening.

“It hit home. It’s OK saying you’ve raised £10,000 but what does it actually go towards?”

Martyn sent BBC documentary Rob Burrow: My Year With MND to all his colleagues across the globe – and the response has been huge.

He added: “Everyone came back and said, ‘How can I help?’ Tomorrow, 10 friends in Detroit will run a half marathon and a guy is running two in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. It’s gone global.

“Hector Pardoe will swim 1.2 miles every morning at his home in Montpellier. There are two guys in Macedonia doing the bike and run, friends in Belgium will mountain bike the distance and my executive team in Cologne is fully on board.

“Friends in Sunderland will swim in the North Sea tomorrow too!”

Martyn’s initial target is to raise £17,777 – after Burrow’s shirt number – and it will be split between the MND Association branches for South Lancashire, where he lives, and West Yorkshire, where Burrow lives.

Since becoming aware of what he is doing, Leeds Beckett University has tested him and will support him – but he is still aware things may happen.

He told SunSport: “In May, when I thought about doing this, I did a tough half iron man in the Lakes but I was OK after it, apart from being sunburnt!

“Now I’ve been given a lot of sports science and recovery things and I’ve been told I could get pretty sick after day three. It’s winter, there’s 10 people riding 56 miles on a bike too, a lot could go wrong.”

*YOU CAN donate to Martyn’s attempt by clicking www.justgiving.com/fundraising/martyn-clarke7for7im

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