Southport NHS worker Ryan Ashcroft took part in the Leeds Marathon

A Southport NHS worker put his best foot forward for charity at the weekend as he took part in the Leeds Marathon.

Ryan Ashcroft, a Financial Services Team Manager, is a huge rugby league fan and is one of many people affected by the story of former Leeds Rhinos star Rob Burrow and his battle with Motor Neurone Disease that has caught the attention of the nation.

The marathon itself was reintroduced to Leeds after a gap of more than 25 years and named after Rob Burrow himself. As soon as it was announced Ryan put his name down to run the race and raise money for the MNS Foundation.

Ryan, running his third marathon, finished 16th in the race in a personal best time of 2hs.51mins.23 secs and raised £777 for the charity.

He said: “Despite being a fan of Wigan Warriors all rugby league fans know the story of Rob Burrow and the support he has had from his former teammate Kevin Sinfield over the past few years.

“All sporting rivalries are put aside when it comes to Rob and as soon as they announced the race was going to take place, I knew I had to enter and try to do my bit for the MND Foundation.

“Rob was famous for wearing the number seven shirt, so I had a fundraising target of £777 which I was chuffed to reach.

“It was a great day with huge crowds and I really enjoyed it.’’

Ryan admitted it was quite an emotional day too as he stayed by the finish line to watch Sinfield carry Burrow over the finish line in what is possibly the most iconic sporting moment of the year so far.

Ryan said: “I knew I had to stay at the finish line to see Kevin and Rob finish the race. When Kevin picked him up from his wheelchair and carried him over the line I don’t think there was a dry eye in the stadium. It was an amazing moment and I feel so privileged to have been there.’’

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