Jamie Peacock: Former Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls star keeps on running in retirement
Former Super League star Peacock joins the Golden Point Podcast to talk about his ultramarathon charity challenge, as well as look back on his playing days and crossing the divide between Leeds Rhinos and Bradford Bulls
By Marc Bazeley
Last Updated: 26/02/21 4:36pm
It is coming up to five years since Jamie Peacock brought his storied playing career to a close, but the nine-time Super League Grand Final winner still has that competitive itch that needs scratching.
The former prop has found an outlet for that in running though - specifically the challenge of ultramarathons, one of which he will be attempting on Friday, March 5, in a bid to raise money for charity Greenhouse Sports.
His 52-mile run around London follows on from him tackling a 34-mile ultramarathon through the pouring rain in the Devon countryside last October and, speaking to the Golden Point Podcast, Peacock explained how he found out quickly after hanging his boots up the need to keep active.
"I made a mistake when I finished playing that for six or eight weeks, I thought I wasn't going to train anymore - and it was probably the worst six to eight weeks of my life," Peacock told Sky Sports.
"I thought 'I've got to start training again' and there are a couple of things which have helped me transition out of sport into real life quite well, and one of those is running.
"That's the thing you miss the most, that week-to-week challenge of getting yourself right and knowing you're going to have to push yourself to the edge.
"I just like being in that place where you are pushing yourself really hard, like in pre-season. I like running because I know I can push myself really hard."
Peacock gears up for ultramarathon challenge
Jamie Peacock will be tackling a charity ultramarathon challenge in March when he takes on a 45-mile run around London.
Peacock has never been afraid of taking on a challenge although perhaps one of the biggest he faced during a professional career, which started in 1999 and concluded in 2016 after a short spell playing for Hull Kingston Rovers, was crossing one of rugby league's bitterest divides.
Having come through the ranks at Bradford Bulls to become captain of the team which was one of the leading lights of Super League's first 10 years, the Great Britain international made the decision to switch to his hometown club and the Bulls' huge rivals Leeds Rhinos for the 2006 season.
It came on the back of Peacock, born in the Leeds district of Bramley, leading Bradford to victory over the Rhinos in the 2005 Grand Final and as well as facing the wrath of his former team-mates when the sides faced off the following year, he had to win the trust of players who were previously rivals.
"I wanted to play for the Rhinos because it was my boyhood club, but the first time I put the kit on it took me a little while to get used to it because I'd been at Bradford, made my debut there and I was captain of the club, and that transition took me some time," Peacock said.
"Also, I think it took the players at Leeds Rhinos a bit of time to get used to me because they were that used to me being their opposition, to break down those barriers and become friends with them took longer than 12 months.
"It was 18 months into the back end of 2007 when we won that Grand Final against St Helens when I felt accepted into the group because I'd been the mortal enemy for so long.
"It was a difficult transition period at first, but one I'm glad I stuck with because it gave me such wonderful times as a player."
Peacock's achievements, which along with his numerous Super League, Challenge Cup, and World Club Challenge successes included individual accolades such as being named Man of Steel in 2003 and being awarded an MBE in 2012, have seen him recognised as an icon of the Super League era.
He is determined to use that profile and standing to help others where he can, leading to fundraising endeavours such as his ultramarathon in March in support of Greenhouse and a charity bike ride in May which aims to raise more funds for former team-mate Rob Burrow and motor neurone disease awareness.
Peacock and fellow runner Simon Dent, founder of sports creative agency Dark Horses, are already well on their way to their target of raising £30,000 from the double marathon-length run which will go towards providing a coach and mentor to a school to help underprivileged children.
The route - up from an initial length of 45 miles - will be run to comply with all government Covid-19 regulations and will feature visits to 2021 Rugby League World Cup venues the Emirates Stadium and the Copper Box as well as schools where Greenhouse already have coaches based.
Given his lifelong involvement at the pinnacle of professional rugby league, it is no surprise Peacock is passionate about the benefits sport can provide to children, particularly for those in inner cities and after a year in which the Covid-19 pandemic put much of grassroots sport on hold.
"Human beings are designed to be active, we're not designed to be cooped up, and for children of those ages to be able to win games, participate, play with their team-mates, learn the values of hard work, doing the right thing by their team-mates and honesty and integrity - all of these values are aligned with sport," Peacock said.
"You get taught these values, which you can use in everyday life, but also you get to burn off some energy and you become fitter. There is a lot of talk about wellbeing at the moment - one of the fundamentals of wellbeing is being active and sport is such a great vehicle to do that.
"Lots of pupils come from tough backgrounds at home, and the sporting club and coach are like their lighthouse in society where they know they'll be safe, they know they'll have a good time and they know they'll be looked after. Sport is so much more than just a game."
Catch up on the latest news from the Betfred Super League and the wider rugby league world on the Golden Point Podcast, as the panel debate the biggest subjects and hear from a range of guests.