Jamie Peacock ready to take on October's London Marathon

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Jamie Peacock continues to use his fame and public figure status positively. This October, he will run his third London Marathon and aim to smash a personal record in the process, all whilst raising money for the Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice in Leeds. For him, it’s a duty to make the most of the position Rugby League has left him in.

After more than 500 games of professional rugby between 1998 and 2016, Peacock brought an end to a glittering career. Nine Super League titles, four Challenge Cup medals, a World Club Champion and Man of Steel just about touch the surface when it comes to honours. Peacock, though, continues to take on challenge after challenge.

“This is my third time running the London Marathon,” he told GiveMeSport.

“The London Marathon is such an amazing event. I’m lucky to be able to run in it and, I guess, for people that have never been in professional sport, it is the closest that you can get to professional sport in terms of the noise, crowd and event itself.

“Given the last 18 months, the event will be even more special for people.”

At the hands of the pandemic, the 2020 event was restricted to elite participants only and, naturally, couldn’t draw the mass crowd it usually does. Traditionally in April, it was staged in October and will once again come in the same month of 2021. 

Peacock has set himself the challenge of running the marathon in sub-3:30. His previous effort saw him achieve a time of 3:35, but cooler conditions in October are going to be a bonus for him.

“My last London Marathon was 3:35 and the thing that hampers me a little bit is that it is usually in April, and I sweat. I get to the end of the marathon, the last 30-50 minutes, and I’m goosed because I’ve sweat that much. I’m hoping that in October it is going to be a little bit cooler.

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“The preparations are going well at the moment. I’ve got a little bit of time off work over the summer holidays, so I’ve got that little bit more time to train and get the miles in.

“I feel like I’ve got a higher baseline as well. Like a lot of people, I’ve been a little bit like Forrest Gump for the last 18-24 months. I’ve got on top of my running and I’m really enjoying it.

“Since I last ran the London Marathon, I’ve got an Ultra Marathon under my belt and I can run a half-marathon in 1:37, so if everything goes well I should be able to do it and get under 3:30.

“I’m not getting any younger in terms of performance, so this could be the one, especially with it being in October.”

Peacock is 43 now and his time as a professional Rugby League player is well behind him. However, he’s no stranger to challenging his body on the back of retirement.

As he mentions, he has Ultra Marathons under his belt. The most recent of those came in March of this year with a gruelling loop around London in a bid to raise money for charity Greenhouse Sports. His previous effort saw him raise almost £50,000 for former teammate and friend, Rob Burrow, who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease back in 2019.

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Once again, Simon Dent joins Peacock, and the pair will be aiming to raise £10,000 to support Wheatfields Hospice in Leeds.

The hospice, which is based in Headingley, is one close to Peacock’s heart. His Dad spent time there during the final years of his life and he can’t speak highly enough of what is offered to families in extremely tough circumstances.

“I met the Wheatfields Hospice in difficult circumstances, but they were a shining light in those challenging circumstances. My Dad died of lung cancer in 2013 and during his final three or four months, he used the Wheatfields Hospice quite a lot.

“When you look back now, they really did care. It’s a great place in difficult times. They’ve helped thousands of families over the years.

“They’ve had to have the charity shops shut and have been losing thousands and thousands of pounds (because of the pandemic). We just want to raise as much money as we can for them. Anyone who has ever had a member of family go through a terminal illness will realise how valuable hospices are.”

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In just 15 minutes with Peacock, it is hard to not be inspired by his determination and willingness to help others. He’s a wonderful ambassador for Rugby League, a sport that’s given him the opportunity to be the public figure he is today.

“When you play a team sport, you have a mindset of trying to help your teammates out. Rugby League isn’t an individual sport and you all need to contribute to win. That’s in your own way, with your own capability, but also by helping out your teammates.

“That selflessness runs through the best teams and you want to continue that selflessness when you’ve finished playing because it’s ingrained in you.

“The challenges help when you’ve finished playing, they are a good thing to try and do. You’ll never get the buzz of playing at Old Trafford with 72,000 in there, but taking on those challenges and seeing how far you can push yourself mentally, it is something to enjoy doing.

“For me, being famous or well known was a by-product of playing rugby. It wasn’t something I particularly wanted, but now it is there, it’s a case of using it in a positive way.

“Other sports people use that fame in a positive way and raise money for great causes. I think you’ve got a duty to do that when you’re in the public eye.”

Jamie will be running the 2021 London Marathon on October 3rd for the Wheatfields Hospice in Leeds. You can sponsor him here: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/jamiesimonruss

Additionally, Jamie will be hosting a virtual Rugby League quiz this coming Thursday (August 5th). To register, go to: www.kwizzbit.com/rugby-quiz 

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