Foundation runners ready to take on Marathon and Half!

On Sunday 12th May, over 30 runners will take to the start line from AMT Headingley Stadium to take part in either the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon or Leeds Half Marathon in support of Leeds Rhinos Foundation. 

The gruelling challenge highlights the commitment of runners to support our mission in changing lives through the power of sport, inspired by so many fantastic players that graced the AMT Headingley pitch such as Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield. 

Runners have been deservedly treated to a range of Rhinos fundraising benefits which add to their experience in the run up to a special day, such as pizza party events with Leeds Rhinos players, pre-race training runs with Jamie Jones-Buchanan and VIP access on the day. 

We’re able to share some of their special stories below.

Emma Harrison & Paul Dickenson

Paul isn’t a runner, in fact, he did a handful of runs during the pandemic and ‘retired’ from it as soon as the gyms reopened. Me (Emma) on the other hand, really got the running bug back then and ticked off my first marathon virtually running 26.2-miles around the Costa del Calderdale one sunny Sunday in 2020.

When the opportunity arose to represent the foundation this year I literally jumped at the chance – having followed Leeds home and away for the last 17-years or so, and having Run with the Rhinos previously in 2019, I’m aware of the amazing work the foundation does in and around Leeds. 

 “Paul on the other hand came along to the ‘launch’ night for this years event and signed up with just over 10-weeks to train for it thanks to the foundation’s new promotional video voiced over by Lindsey Burrow… as a lifelong fan, it hit him hard! 

 “Taking on a marathon is always a huge challenge – but getting to do this with my best mate means we’re doing exactly what Kevin Sinfield asked… running with a mate, for our mates at the foundation!”

James King

“I decided to run for the Leeds Rhinos Foundation because as part of the Physical Disability Rugby League (PDRL) team I experience first-hand what the foundation does for various communities across Leeds. I have been part of the PDRL team for 5 years now and through this connection to the Rhinos Foundation I have flourished in all aspects of life, from social, physical fitness, mental wellbeing and my career outside of Rugby League.  

“I have been on a journey of weight loss, seeing me lose over 5 stone, I am now doing my PhD at the University of Bradford, and am living with my disability and daily struggles more easily all because of the impact the Foundation and people within it have had on me.  

“The marathon will be a huge challenge for me, being visually impaired it can be nerve wracking running in large crowds and worrying about the higher risk of injury through accidents such as tripping and falling, so the battle is as much mental as it is physical for myself.  

“It is vital that we look to give back so that the kind of work the Foundation does that genuinely changes lives can continue.”

Bob Bowman, Leeds Rhinos Foundation CEO

As CEO of the Foundation we are about giving people opportunities to improve their lives and my staff team passionately do that day in day out. We are a charity that delivers results, we want to do more of that and so we need to grow. A lot of my job involves meeting and speaking and on Sunday I will be able to set an example actually getting out there and running the event and raise vital funds for an organisation that I love.  

“This will be my 23rd Marathon! They do not get any easier, and at last year’s inaugural event I said that was my last road marathon! I then see the strength of Rob and his family and they inspire me to keep rising to the physical challenge, so here I go again. It will be hard but that’s what you want. Similarly, I and others are doing this out of choice. All those people living with life limiting illnesses did not choose that path and yet they are the sort of people who keep fighting and smiling so bring the marathon challenge on so we can do our bit to help.”

Nigel Wood

“I still have many happy memories of my three years working for the Leeds Rhinos Foundation. The positive team ethos and determination to reach out to children and families who most need it, is something I still apply to my role in schools.    

“The wide range of young people and adults who benefit from the Foundation’s work is huge and I will be delighted to be part of the team again on the 12th! 

The Rhinos Foundation and Tryzone achieved and continues to achieve transformational outcomes for young people and adults right across Leeds. The Foundation is still evolving and it’s vital for the City that this work continues to flourish.  

I’m five years older than the last race, but I can’t wait to take part and hopefully finish in one piece!”

If you are able and would like to support our runners and Foundation, please CLICK HERE.

You can also support us by running with us in future at the Leeds 10K on 23rd June 2024 or Leeds Marathon 2025!

We’d like to thank all of our runners for their fantastic commitments and wish them all luck in their achievements: 

  • Declan Jenkinson
  • Paul Brennan
  • Emma Harrison
  • Barrie McDermott
  • Billy McDermott
  • Rachel Woolford
  • Ben Turnbell
  • Nigel Chambers
  • Mark Rushton
  • Annie Knell
  • Josh Coukter
  • Jessica McDermott
  • Dominique McGee
  • James King
  • Tom Kaye
  • Ian Carnegie
  • Jamie Jones-Buchanan MBE
  • Lee Harrison
  • Jamie Peacock MBE
  • Paul Dickenson
  • Stefan Rose
  • Lisa Hart
  • David Gordon
  • Nigel Wood
  • Bob Bowman QPM
  • Emma Jones-Buchanan