Jamie Peacock MBE retired as a Rugby League player at the end of the 2016 season, after he had come out of retirement for a short spell of four matches to try to save Hull Kingston Rovers from relegation.
Sadly, his last match was the infamous Million Pound Game, when Salford Red Devils snatched victory from the jaws of defeat to save themselves and send the Robins into the Championship.
But Peacock’s career as an athlete certainly didn’t end on that day.
Like his former team-mate Kevin Sinfield he has taken to long-distance running and in the process raising money for various charities, including raising funds for Rob Burrow.
And next month, on 5th March, he will complete a unique ultra-marathon around London in order to fundraise for the sports and mentoring charity Greenhouse Sports.
The distance will be 45 miles and it will take place on the day before the Green Man Ultra Marathon, in which Jamie should have been running, was due to take place in Bristol.
But that has now been postponed as a result of Covid-19.
“Unfortunately Covid cancelled that race, but we have a good cause, so we decided instead to run around London taking in London’s World Cup venues,” he explains.
The fundraising target is £30,000, which will provide a full time Greenhouse Sports Coach to a school for a whole year.
Greenhouse Sports tries to help young people living in poverty reach their full potential through sport, both at school and then easing them into employment.
“Greenhouse is an amazing charity that uses sports as a vehicle to engage children, helps them meet friends and develop key life skills,” says Peacock.
“Sport and activity is so important for children and Greenhouse offers quality coaching and support to children from some of the poorest parts of the UK. Given the social, economic and health impact of the multiple restrictions and lockdowns in the UK, Greenhouse Coaches’ work in communities during 2021 will be more important than ever.”
Jamie is set to run the course and fundraise with his friend Simon Dent, who is a keen endurance runner and the founder of sports marketing agency Dark.
Their run will begin and end at the Greenhouse Centre, the charity’s HQ, and check in at a number of the 40 schools in the capital that Greenhouse Coaches support.
With the Rugby League World Cup hosted in England this autumn, Jamie the route also goes by the two venues in the capital that will host matches – Arsenal FC’s Emirates Stadium, which will host a semi-final, and the Copper Box in the Olympic Park in Stratford, that will host Wheelchair matches.
“Even though the official race has been postponed, I could not pass up an opportunity to fundraise for such an impactful organisation,” adds Peacock.
“It’s a long distance but a fun and inspirational route of the capital, via the Thames and through parks, going past some of the many schools Greenhouse supports across 17 London boroughs, and checking by at Arsenal’s stadium, which hopefully come November will showcase the best of the international Rugby League as part of England 2021 World Cup campaign.
“Simon and I ran an ultra marathon in September, which was 35 miles across the South Downs on a course that had us rising 3,000 feet, so although this run is longer, at least it’s flatter.
Peacock, like many Rugby League players, comes from a humble background and recognises more than most people how crucial it is for kids to receive the right guidance if they are to realise their potential, while he is keen to link the charity to the forthcoming World Cup.
“In the last 12 months kids’ sports have been tragically overlooked. It’s important for kids to have contact with the best facilities.
“And the World Cup is a great opportunity for Rugby League in the capital to showcase what we are really good at. Greenhouse Sports have links with a number of schools there so it ties in nicely.
“I am looking forward to it; it’s a great challenge for a great cause. It’s a good test, both mentally and physically, and these days I hope that people are prepared to give money to charities for difficult things. Kevin’s seven marathons were an incredibly difficult challenge, which he did for Rob, and he captured the heart of the public. Kevin is deeply respected by the public.”
“My personality trait is not suited to doing nothing. I find it hard sitting down and relaxing. I want to be more entrepreneurial than that.
“I’m good at innovating, finding different ideas and making them work.
“I always want to be on the go and make things happen.
If you would like to contribute to Jamie’s fundraising effort, go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/simonjamie4greenhouse
The above content is also available in the regular weekly edition of League Express, on newsstands every Monday in the UK and as a digital download. Click here for more details.