Wigan Warriors duo's mighty 48km fundraising effort

Wigan players Morgan Smithies and Amir Bourouh are preparing to tackle a gruelling fundraising challenge – in memory of a tragic player from their old amateur club.
Morgan Smithies is taking part in the challengeMorgan Smithies is taking part in the challenge
Morgan Smithies is taking part in the challenge

Along with Warrington’s Riley Dean, they will each run 48 kilometres – about 30 miles – in 48 hours.

The trio grew up playing for Siddal ARLFC and with the season suspended, they decided to take on the challenge in memory of one of the Halifax amateur club’s leading all-time players, Nick ‘Smudger’ Smith, who died in December 2017 from Motor Neurone Disease at the age of just 38.

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Forward Smithies is used to lung-busting efforts, having smashed the Super League record for most tackles in a game – with 72 – during his breakthrough season last year.

But he admits this will present a different sort of challenge.

He said: “We don’t cover anywhere near this distance in training so I think, by the end, it will be a mental challenge.

“But it’s something I wanted to do, it’s focused my mind and it’s for a great cause.

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“I didn’t know Nick personally, I’d seen him play, but anyone associated with an amateur club can imagine what his death did – it rocked the whole club.”

They aim to take part in the challenge next Monday and Tuesday, with the distance split into three runs each day – all socially-distanced in line with the current coronavirus guidelines.

The trio, who have all played for England Youth, have already surpassed their £1,000 target.

Hooker Bourouh, one of several youngsters to get their chance under Adrian Lam last year, said: “We’re all proud to have grown up playing for Siddal and everyone who pulls on the blue and white shirt is always part of the club’s family.

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“Nick was a Siddal legend and even though we never played alongside him, we know the impact he had and the passion he had for rugby league.”

The Nick Smith Foundation has raised more than £100,000 in the two years since it was launched and supports research into MND, ensures there is more help for those diagnosed with the condition, supports children having to face the death of a parent and encourages children to take up rugby league.

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