PDRL players swap rugby boots for running shoes as they prepare to Run With The Rhinos in Leeds 10k

Although Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Physical Disability Rugby League team may not to be able to get back to action on the field just yet, their players are continuing to train and some have set themselves a new goal by signing up for the Run For All Leeds 10k as part of the Run With The Rhinos team.

With the 2020 PDRL League season curtailed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the players have set themselves the challenge of joining the Run With The Rhinos team to help raise money for Leeds Rhinos Foundation and the Rob Burrow Fund, which was set up to support the Rhinos legend following his motor neurone disease diagnosis.

It was an idea first put forward by vice-captain Tom Pouncey and now nine members of the PDRL squad now preparing to put on their running shoes and join over 100 Leeds Rhinos legends, staff and supporters taking part in the run on November 22nd.

Pouncey said: “My motivation came through lockdown inactivity and the fact that I’ve always wanted to challenge myself to a long distance race. Growing up I could play rugby for hours, yet I hated any sort of distance running, so I’m running this 10k to prove to myself that I can do it.

“I’ve really missed the PDRL lads. The fraternity of having a huge gang of mates in the same boat all pulling in the same direction has really helped my quality of life and that’s been missing.

“Lockdown has been a lonely and scary time for me. I’m on immunosuppressant drugs and can’t have vaccines, so seeing the boys again and doing something competitive is giving me a new lease of life.

“Leeds Rhinos Foundation is the reason our team exist. They’ve provided so much to the lives of me and my teammates in terms of tangible and intangible benefits; from providing the bus that took us to play in front of 33,000 at Anfield, to the shirts, balls and kit we wear every week. The Foundation gave me hope again, they gave me a place where I felt at home and by fundraising we can give something back.”

Having experienced their own health challenges, Rhinos’ PDRL Player-Coach Dan Roberts is pleased his side can also use this opportunity to play their part in supporting the fundraising drive for one of their sporting idols.

“To be able to contribute to the Rob Burrow Fund is great as he’s a Leeds Rhinos and rugby league legend,” said Roberts. “A couple of the lads will know how Rob is feeling after getting their own diagnosis and we want to do what we can to help.

“Supporting Leeds Rhinos Foundation is also important, as without them we wouldn’t be able to play PDRL. When you think about everything they do in the city that isn’t just rugby league related; from the education work in schools, to supporting cancer patients and people living with dementia, they play a huge role in the community and this fundraising will be vital for the people they work with.”

“We know that when the run gets difficult, we’ll spur each other on to ‘Do it for Addy’ which would’ve been our motto on the field this year. That’s because we’ll think of James Addyman, our former teammate who sadly lost his fight with cancer last year, to help us dig deep in respect of how tough and resilient he was.”

Run With The Rhinos 2020 takes place at the Run For All Leeds 10k on 22nd November. Entry is £27 and there is a minimum fundraising suggestion of £50, which can be done by visiting www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/runwiththerhinos2020.

All money raised from this year’s Run with The Rhinos will be split between Leeds Rhinos Foundation and the Rob Burrow Fund.

You can request a sponsorship form and get more information on the Run With the Rhinos team by contacting ben.berry@leedsrhinosfoundation.org.

To sign up for the Run With The Rhinos team visit the ‘Events’ page at tickets.therhinos.co.uk.