SPORTING heroes including Kevin Sinfield, Paula Radcliffe, Patrice Evra, Peter Crouch, and Denise Lewis have backed a star-studded team led by Scottish rugby icon Kenny Logan as they set off on a seven-day, 700-mile endurance challenge from Edinburgh to Paris to raise £555,555 for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.
The 20-strong team set off today (Sunday, October 1) on their mission to deliver the match ball for the Scotland vs Ireland Pool B Rugby World Cup qualification decider on Saturday, October 7.
The team of celebrities and fundraisers taking part includes Scottish football legend Ally McCoist; The Hobbit and Cold Feet star Jimmy Nesbitt; actor Jamie Bamber, television presenter Kirsty Gallacher; adventurer Jason Fox, and the former Wasps winger’s wife and television star Gabby Logan.
The fundraisers have so far raised more than £280,000 en route to their £555,000 for Doddie Weir’s charity, The My Name’5 Doddie Foundation.
Rugby league legend Sinfield, who famously ran seven marathons in seven days to raise money for his friend and former teammate Rob Burrow, who is living with MND, recorded a special message for Logan and the team, in which he called on the nation to get behind the cause and ‘be part of the cure for MND’.
He is joined by former marathon world record holder Radcliffe, 2000 Olympic heptathlon champion Lewis, South Africa 2007 Rugby World Cup Winners Habana and John Smit; and England’s 2003 Rugby World cup winner Mike Tindall, and former England striker Peter Crouch.
Weir, who played more than 60 matches for Scotland in the famous number five jersey, died in November 2022 after living with MND for six years.
Starting in Edinburgh, the walk and cycle will see the team of celebs travel around 100 miles a day from Newcastle to York, and on to Belvoir Castle in Grantham; then to Marlow and Brighton; before taking the ferry overseas to Mont Vernon and onward to the grand finale in Paris ahead of the Scotland vs Ireland match on October 7.
The celebrities are joined by teams of supporters helping to raise as much money as possible for My Name’5 Doddie Foundation. The challenge is also backed by high-profile sponsors, including Thrifty, Arnold Clark, Highland Spring, Specialized, Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky, DAF Trucks, Yeti, Endura, Berghaus, and Canterbury.
Kenny Logan, who decided to take on the challenge during recovery from prostate cancer last year, said: “This will be a brutal challenge – and it’s not meant to be easy – but backing from people who’ve achieved what Kev, Denise, Bryan, John, and Mike have is a massive motivator, as is the support we receive from everybody inspired by Doddie’s memory to help us end MND.
“It’s hard to put into words what Doddie meant to me, my family, and the rugby and MND communities around the world.
“He was the most loving, kind and courageous person I knew; all of which drove him to fight his MND so hard for so long and be a champion for others living with the disease, raising millions of pounds along the way.
“Training has involved a gruelling schedule – with several challenges along the way – but we’re here and confident we can do it for Doddie.
“Currently people with MND don’t have adequate treatment options – and that’s why we’re doing this for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation, so that one day, everyone in Doddie’s position will have a better chance.
“Let’s all come together to finish what Doddie started and find a cure for MND.”
The challenge takes place ahead of Doddie Aid 2024, a My Name’5 Doddie Foundation national fundraising event where participants rally to raise as much money as possible for MND research.
The annual mass participation event runs for six weeks from January 1 each year. The 2023 event came to its conclusion when Rob Wainwright and a team of rugby legends completed their journey transporting the match ball for The Doddie Weir Cup – Scotland’s Six Nations fixture against Wales – from Cardiff to Murrayfield.
My Name’5 Doddie Foundation was named charity of the year at the 2023 Just Giving Awards last month.
To find out more about Kenny Logan’s Rugby World Cup Challenge, visit kennylogansrwcchallenge.com, and to donate visit justgiving.com/campaign/kenny-logans-rugby-world-cup-challenge