‘Dreams really do come true’ – Chrissie Wellington helps Sam achieve #onemoremarathon

News Director

Four-time IRONMAN World Champion Chrissie Wellington helped a “dream come true” for Sam Perkins on an inspiring day at the first-ever Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon on Sunday.

Wellington’s triathlon record is unmatched – she won all 13 full-distance races she started, including those four Kona victories.

And to this day she still holds the record for the fastest time over the distance from Challenge Roth in 2011.

That was the year she retired and since then she’s been a driving force behind parkrun, which has transformed the running landscape in the UK and beyond by making it free and accessible to all, skyrocketing participation numbers – and the multiple health and well-being benefits that brings.

One more marathon becomes two

But she’s also been involved in helping Perkins, who is living with Motor Neurone Disease, achieve his ambitions of #onemoretri and #onemoremarathon.

The first of those two aims was ticked off last May at the Outlaw Triathlon and the second was focussed on this year’s London Marathon, where Wellington – who won her age category at the event in 2017 with a time of 2:49:01 – was pushing the wheelchair-bound athlete around the 26.2 miles.

But unfortunately a puncture and buckled wheel after 14 miles forced a change of plan – and there was surely no better event to reroute to than the inaugural Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon.

It was the brainchild of former rugby league star Kevin Sinfield who has raised millions to help in the battle against MND, which his best friend and teammate Burrow was diagnosed with in 2019.

More than 12,000 people took part, with Sinfield and team pushing Burrow – and there was an incredibly emotional moment at the finish when Sinfield lifted him out of his specially-adapted wheelchair and carried him over the line.

‘I’m over the moon’

And alongside them for much of the race were Wellington and Team Perkins.

After achieving his dream of #onemoremarathon, Sam said: “I’m over the moon. It’s an absolutely phenomenal event. An amazing team, I’m so delighted to have made it round, it’s just fantastic.

“I just want to say a massive thankyou to everyone who’s made this happen – my family, the runners, my wife, my carers, to Rob – just everyone.

Asked what his favourite moment was, he said: “The last few miles. The crowd support and the sense of knowing that we’d done it was just incredible.”

And on seeing Burrow and Sinfield cross the line, he added: “It was an amazing experience and I’m just delighted they had a successful race too.”

Wellington meanwhile said: “I don’t think there’s an emotion that describes it, I haven’t really got the words – and I’ve crossed many a finish line. I’ve been quite fortunate to do a number of different marathons all over the world and this has to be one of the best I’ve ever done.

“To enable Sam to realise his dream – it’s incredibly special. I just hope that this quite rightfully focuses attention on raising money for a much-needed cause.”

Congratulations to Sam, Chrissie and the whole team on a day that showed the value of true friendship – and which will hopefully accelerate the race to find a cure for MND.

Sam’s JustGiving page for #onemoremarathon has reached over £18,000 to add to the £170,000+ his charity Stand Against MND (SAM) he has already raised.

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