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Rugby duo tackle marathon

Adam Gillard and Nathan Metcalfe

Two friends who met as teenagers on a university rugby pitch in the 1990s are to run their first-ever marathon together, inspired by rugby legend Rob Burrow.  

Nathan Metcalfe and Adam Gillard have signed up to The Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon and will run to raise funds for Skipton-based Children’s Charity, The Principle Trust, which provides free respite holidays to children who are underprivileged, disadvantaged, disabled, have life-limiting conditions, or who have experienced poverty, trauma or abuse.

The pair, who have since hung up their boots, first met on the rugby pitches of Leeds Metropolitan University over two decades ago and went on to become life-long teammates, playing for Bradford-based clubs including Undercliffe, Bank Top Harriers and Bradford Salem.

The event marks the friends’ first foray into marathon distance events; both have previously completed 10k runs, and have stepped up their training programme in readiness for Sunday’s 26-mile event. The pair, both aged 43, have so far raised over £1500, and are hoping to exceed £2000 by race day.  

Adam, who lives in Kildwick, is hoping to complete the gruelling 26-mile distance in less than four hours; Nathan, who lives in Skipton, hopes to be close behind with a target time of 4 ½ hours.

The Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon takes place on Sunday 14 May and will see over 10,000 participants take on a brand new route through Leeds that starts and finishes at Headingley Stadium. Former Leeds Rhinos player Rob Burrow was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in December 2019 and has since campaigned tirelessly to raise awareness and funds to support other families living with MND.

 Commenting ahead of the event Mr Metcalfe said, “We’re looking forward to a fantastic event and to raising as much money as possible to help The Principle Trust fund respite breaks for needy children.”

Launched in 2011, The Principle Trust Children’s Charity was established by Ilkley businessman Mike Davies, MBE. Over the past decade the Trust has raised over £1m, purchased six holiday homes and provided respite breaks for more than 4,500 children across the Yorkshire region.

Also running for the Trust will be friends Jacob Taylor and Austen Thompson, who both work at Harrison Boothman Estate Agents in Skipton.  The pair hope to complete their first half-marathon distance in less than two hours and aim to raise £500 for the charity.

Mr Davies commented, "Thanks to the generous support of everyone running to raise funds for The Principle Trust, we’re able to help disadvantaged families across Yorkshire to escape their everyday troubles and create valuable, happy memories.

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