Rugby league lovers urged to row for marathon glory

Stars of rugby league are preparing for a marathon challenge as they bid to raise money for Try Assist, the Rugby League Benevolent Fund.

Champions of the game both past and present will take part in the Carnegie Rowing Challenge on Thursday 15 April at Leeds Metropolitan University, where they will face a stern test as they bid to complete the 42,195 metre indoor rowing marathon.

Fans of rugby league are also being urged to take part in the event, with the opportunity to compete directly against their sporting heroes in a test of strength and endurance in a bid to raise cash to help amateur and professional players who have suffered life-changing injuries.

Former Great Britain internationals Paul Sculthorpe and Kris Radlinski, the BBC’s Dave Woods, along with a Sky Sports All Star team led by Terry O’Connor are amongst competitors already signed up to the challenge. They’ll be joined by a team of rugby league writers, a Steve Prescott managed set of competitors as well as a team managed by Wakefield Wildcats coach John Kear.

The Carnegie Rowing Challenge will take place at Leeds Met’s Carnegie Research Institute at Headingley Campus in Leeds on Thursday 15 April from 3pm until 7pm and will be filmed by the BBC. Concept 2 have provided forty indoor rowing machines for the duration of the challenge and competitors will be taking part in a range of trials up to and including the full 26.2 mile marathon. Competitors are able to enter the challenge individually or can form teams of up to five members and will aim to complete the marathon in under four hours.

The BBC’s Dave Woods explains: “We want as many people as possible to sign up, either as individuals or in teams of up to five people to row a marathon in under four hours. Amateur clubs, gym clubs, sets of fans, players – everyone who can get on a rower should have a go to raise money for Try Assists. We’ve seen the fantastic efforts of some of the game’s high profile ex-players in raising money for Try Assist. Now everyone in the rugby league family can join in alongside them.”
“Many of the people who benefit from Try Assist show an amazing spirit and approach to life, despite suffering life-changing injuries. The money that’s raised helps them overcome their many difficulties and achieve as much as possible out of life.”

St Helens legend Paul Sculthorpe will be taking part in the challenge and is expecting the training to be a tough prospect: “The Carnegie Rowing Challenge will be a real test of physical strength and stamina and I’m looking forward to testing myself against my fellow players and also fans of the game. It would be great to see representatives from the whole rugby league family getting involved in this unique event and I’m sure we can raise lots of money for a very worthy cause.”

Tim Adams, Chairman of Try Assist adds: “Try Assist, the RFL Benevolent Fund Charity, was formed five years ago in response to a commitment to give lifelong support to seriously injured Rugby League players. Those players who have had career changing injuries are supported by the Fund by a variety of means including help with house refurbishments, car adaptations, educational programmes, and it also provides a forum for social and welfare networking. The Carnegie Rowing Challenge is an excellent opportunity for us to raise the profile of the charity and encourage people to test themselves to their physical and mental limits.”

Several of the competitors have already begun their fundraising efforts and welcome sponsorship and donations, which can be given at www.justgiving.com/carnegierowingchallenge or you can visit the facebook website.

If you are interested in taking part in the Carnegie Rowing Challenge either as an individual competitor or as part of a team, please request an application form by emailing carnegierugbyleague@leedsmet.ac.uk or by ringing Jane McKeown on 0113 812 9248.

The record for the individual rowing marathon is 2 hours, 28 minutes, 54 seconds set in 2000 by Glenn Goodwin, with the women’s record standing at 2 hours, 53 minutes, 16 seconds set by Anna Bailey. The record for a team marathon is 2 hours, 15 minutes, 51 seconds set in 2006 by Mad Team IRC.

Leeds Metropolitan University has supported previous fundraising efforts for the RFL Benevolent fund, including the Moor Walking Challenges and Three Peaks Walk.