"It's changing lives" - Rugby League royalty Jamie Peacock looks ahead to 104-mile ultra-marathon

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Jamie Peacock has his sights on another impressive post-career feat as he plans to run 104 miles in a fundraising bid for the Greenhouse Sports charity in just over two weeks.

This is the latest leg in the Rugby League legend’s series of challenges, which have included numerous marathons and ultra-marathons.

Greenhouse Sports is one of the main beneficiaries of Peacock’s fundraising and, given they are entering their 20th year, the 44-year-old and his team have one big push in mind.

Peacock told GMS: “It starts from March 2021, myself and Simon Dent ran a double marathon to raise money for the Greenhouse Sports Project, putting sport coaches into schools in deprived areas. We managed to raise £60k, which was enough for two sports coaches.

“This year, 2022, is the 20th anniversary of the charity. We thought we needed to do something extra special, so six weeks after we finished the run we started to plan what we were going to do.

“What we decided was we will run 104 miles – four marathons – and try and raise as much money as possible.

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Jamie Peacock

“As that got drawn out, the roof got damaged at the centre. So, what we are trying to do is raise as much money as possible for the roof, and if we can put more coaches in that would be awesome too.”

What Greenhouse Sports offer is coaching for students from tough backgrounds, in a bid to use sport in a positive way in their lives.

It’s a cause that Peacock is always fully behind.

“It’s such a good cause,” he enthused.

“There are loads of great charities out there but what they do is give students from tough backgrounds some positive role models, show them that, through the vehicle of sport and its values, you can go out and be successful.

“Given what we’ve gone through with the lockdowns, school was almost a sanctuary for some kids. We need to provide an environment in schools where there is no glass ceiling and they can go be successful no matter their background. Greenhouse sport does that, it’s changing lives.”

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – NOVEMBER 24: Assistant coach Jamie Peacock arrives for the England Rugby League World Cup Semi Final Captain’s Run at Mt Smart Stadium on November 24, 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

After raising £60k in one of his many previous challenges, Peacock and his team – including Simon Dent, Chris Williams and Sam Rants – have their sights set on smashing the £100k mark this time around. That will be enough to fix the damaged roof at the charity’s centre and, hopefully, help employ some more coaches.

What better way to encourage people to be generous than with a daunting 100-mile loop.

Peacock continued: “There are four of us this time and people joining us along the way. That will help, right?

“For me, running a distance like this, it’s about striking a balance. Not overestimating it by putting up too many barriers to stop you doing it, but not underestimating it either. It’s about treading that fine line.

“At the moment I’m in the mental fog of just training all the time. I forgot how difficult that is alongside operating your day-to-day job.

“It’s challenging at the moment and it’ll be challenging on the day but having people join us will help. We’ve got a great support group.

“As well, it’s a great challenge to do. I probably won’t think that over the 100 miles, but right now I’m thinking, ‘let’s have it’.”

Training for such an event is, undoubtedly, tough but Peacock has made the most of it, including time in Lanzarote with Simon Dent earlier in 2022.

“That was great,” Peacock said of the trip abroad.

“It really jumpstarted by training after Christmas, I got a good 50-55 miles in.

“My training is going well, I’m dedicated to doing it, getting up early. My weekends are all focused on running.

“It’s not only myself, you don’t mind making the sacrifice because you’re doing the challenge, but it’s the other people around you have to be really understanding of that as well.

“Training is going well but I’m looking forward to when I can start tapering it down a little bit.

“Simon is great, we’ve got a really good understanding running alongside each other. He’s got a tough mental outlook and that’s what you need on these types of challenges.

“He’s someone that makes things happen and he’s a great to be around. You want to be around people that make things happen. He loves his running and that rubs off on me as well.”

Peacock spent his professional career thriving in a team sport and is now tackling long distance running – something that you could argue is all about your individual mindset.

However, by surrounding himself by people like Simon, Chris and Sam, there’s a shared sense of accomplishment as they set about their 104-mile circuit.

Peacock concluded: “The one thing you miss from playing team sports is the shared sense of accomplishment and the shared sense of pushing through the pain barriers to complete that accomplishment.

“Running with Simon, plus Chris and Sam, will make up for that and it will certainly feel like a team accomplishment, which is a great thing.

“It’s an individual battle but a team accomplishment, which is like playing a team sport.”

Jamie, Simon, Chris and Sam set about their latest ultra-marathon on April 16th, as they raise money for Greenhouse Sports. You can support them and donate by following this link.

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