Former England captain Jamie Peacock does not do things by half as he prepares to step into the unknown.
His former Leeds captain Kevin Sinfield ran seven marathons in seven days to raise funds for Rob Burrow and Motor Neurone Disease (MND) research and on Friday Peacock and close friend Simon Dent will tackle double the 26 miles in a single day.
“Some 40,000 people a year go down to London to run a marathon so you have to do something that stands out a little bit more to gain any attention,” he said.
“Me and Simon were originally going to run the Green Man Ultra which is 45 miles and we thought a double marathon would be one hell of a run.”
That ultramarathon in Bristol was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and those same restrictions will mean there will be no fanfare for the pair’s remarkable trek around the streets of London, not that that will concern the 43-year-old former Bradford and Leeds forward.
Since finally hanging up his boots in 2016, Peacock has thrown himself into good causes as he gives back to the game that enabled him to win nine Super League titles and four Challenge Cups across an 18-year career that also saw him crowned Man of Steel in 2003.
Peacock, who runs his own wellbeing programme to aid mental and physical health, raised around £50,000 for MND from running the Exmoor Ultra last October and he and Dent are closing in on their target of £30,000 for another cause close to his heart, the children’s charity Greenhouse Sports.
“We’ve got to about £19,000 across three Justgiving pages so we’re getting there,” said Peacock, whose own humble background has given him a close affinity with Greenhouse, which helps young people living in poverty reach their potential by providing their schools with dedicated sports coaches.
Peacock and Dent’s run will start and finish at the Greenhouse HQ and take in several of the 40 schools in the capital supported by the charity.
Peacock said: “Sport and activity is so important for children and Greenhouse offers quality coaching and support to children from some of the poorest parts of the UK.
“Given the social, economic and health impact of the multiple restrictions and lockdowns in the UK, Greenhouse coaches’ work in communities during 2021 will be more important than ever.”
The route has also a rugby league theme, taking in the Emirates Stadium and the Copper Box Arena in the Olympic Park that will host matches in the 2021 World Cup in November.
Peacock’s previous longest run was the 34 miles in Exmoor but he is confident he can reach his 52-mile target and is not tying himself to a time limit.
“Let’s just get round,” he said. “When you are looking at distances above a marathon, it’s about making sure you get it done right rather than burning out halfway around.
“I’m confident I will do it. I know it’s going to be very, very difficult but I’m mentally ready for a challenge and physically I’ve been doing the training so let’s see how it goes.”