In a momentous event that will be etched in the annals of history, the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon took place on Sunday, leaving spectators and participants alike awe-inspired.
Gary Hetherington, Chief Executive of the Leeds Rhinos, has hailed the inaugural marathon as one of the most remarkable occasions in the 133-year history of the Headingley Stadium.
With an impressive turnout of over 15,000 runners, the marathon proved to be an overwhelming success, uniting friends, family members, and a legion of devoted volunteers who contributed to the event’s triumphant spirit. The marathon’s charitable efforts have been equally impressive, with an astonishing £4 million raised for various good causes to date.
Former players of the Rhinos, including renowned names such as Jamie Peacock, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Matt Diskin, Keith Senior, Adrian Morley, and Barrie McDermott, graced the event with their presence.
Additionally, Luke Burgess and Matt Adamson flew in from Australia to partake in this momentous occasion. The club’s backroom team, alongside every department and the Leeds Rhinos Foundation, also played a vital role in ensuring the marathon’s resounding success, forming a formidable 20-plus team, which even included Head Coach Rohan Smith.
Yet, amidst all the triumph and camaraderie, it was the sight of former skipper Kevin Sinfield carrying his friend Rob Burrow across the finish line at the hallowed grounds of Headingley that captivated hearts around the globe. This enduring image will undoubtedly be cherished as one of the most iconic moments of the year.
Reflecting on a remarkable day, Hetherington expressed his admiration, stating, “Headingley has witnessed countless unforgettable sporting occasions throughout its 133-year history, and now, the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon can be proudly added to this illustrious list.
The 15,000 runners, organisers, stewards, volunteers, and the thousands who lined the route all played an instrumental role. Leeds Rhinos are immensely proud to have been an integral part of this extraordinary event.”
Hetherington went on to highlight the unique attributes of Headingley as a venue, capable of hosting a diverse array of events.
Despite the momentous marathon, the stadium’s staff and management were back to work the following day, gearing up for another significant occasion. This Saturday, the Rhinos will play host to Wigan in the Rugby League Challenge Cup.
“Years ago, when we made the decision to redevelop Headingley, our aim was to position the stadium at the heart of the Leeds community, offering our city the opportunity to celebrate world-class events. Since then, we have successfully hosted seven Rugby League World Cup matches, including a record-breaking crowd for a women’s game in this country.
Moreover, the city’s boxing champion, Josh Warrington, orchestrated an unforgettable night of pugilistic excellence on these very grounds. Earlier this year, we commenced the Year of Culture with the Awakening concert. The future holds ambitious plans to build upon these accomplishments, and I eagerly anticipate the years to come, filled with occasions like last Sunday,” added Hetherington, hinting at the extraordinary potential that lies ahead.
The Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon has undeniably left an indelible mark on the history of the Leeds Rhinos and Headingley Stadium, exemplifying the power of unity, determination, and the resounding spirit of human endeavour.