Introduction

Many of you won't know much, if anything, about me or what has brought me to this stage of my life, nor why I'm aiming with my team to complete, on April 13th 2014, what will be a unique, world-first hat-trick of events. On 4th April 2004, aged 17, I made my rugby league debut for the London Broncos Academy at King Cross Fields in Halifax. It was my first, and only game for the club, and it was to last just 20 seconds.

Be it fate, or just how life was meant to be for me, but I was to suffer a broken neck just after kick off, leaving me fighting for my life. I was lucky… Dr John Lynagh was on the touchline, and realising the seriousness of the situation, kept me alive until the Yorkshire Air Ambulance arrived. Yorkshire Air Ambulance used their medical and flying expertise to transfer me to Leeds General Infirmary where I underwent emergency surgery. My spinal cord was irreparably damaged by dislocated vertebrae, leaving me paralysed from the neck down and requiring a ventilator to breathe. What followed was a nine-month stay in the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville, where I did my best to begin the process of rebuilding my life.

Loftus Rd, 2004

Great North Run 2006

Debbie Hobson & Dr. John Lynagh

Following my return home in December 2004, I was fortunate enough to return to school, complete my A-levels, and thereafter study law at the University of Hertfordshire. Throughout this period, I was incredibly fortunate with the support I received, and as a means of repaying the kindness of others, I took part in the 2006 Great North Run. Crossing the finish line meant I became the first person in the world with my level of disability to complete a half marathon. This was only possible because of the support of my team of runners, I was fortunate enough to repeat this feat in October 2007, on behalf of the late Mike Gregory.

Just a few weeks later I travelled to America and, on the 4th November 2007 completed the ING New York Marathon. This was another world first completed with the help of my team of six runners, and the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. Whilst at university, I supported others who had suffered spinal cord injuries through my role as a peer adviser with the Spinal Injuries Association. In 2009 I graduated from university and now work as a trainee solicitor with Stewarts Law in London.

New York Marathon 2007

OBE From Prince Charles

Graduation Day

In 2012, I was humbled to be deemed worthy of receiving an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List, an honour I received from the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace in January 2013. For the past six years I have been trying, but failing, to secure entry into the London Marathon. Their reasons rest solely on the level of my disability, and my subsequent reliance upon a powered wheelchair to move about; determined campaigning, research and negotiation has proved fruitless.

Regrettably, I'm now locked in a legal battle with the London Marathon to ensure I can be with my team on the start line of the 2014 Virgin London Marathon. I am determined to do all I can to join my team on what will be a truly incredible experience, and in doing so prove that anything is possible in life… I owe too many people, too much, to simply lie down and not fight for the right to take part and raise funds for my chosen charities to whom I owe so very much. My team will run, and I intend to be right there with them.

Matt King OBE, November 2013.

The Charities

Taking part in the Great North Run & New York Marathon would, at one time, have been considered impossible for me. With the help of some meticulous organisation and my running teams, I made it. London is going to be very tough, but I will make it round the course. I'd ask everyone who can, in whatever way, to try & help my team reach it's target of £100,000. It's a huge fundraising challenge, but not impossible…


Yorkshire Air Ambulance Saving lives across Yorkshire

Yorkshire Air Ambulance

"I owe them my life"

Dr John Lynagh was pitch side at King Cross Fields in Halifax when I suffered my injury. He knew how serious things were & called for the YAA. The medical expertise of Dr Lynagh & the YAA medics, Debbie Hobson & Sammy Willis, kept me alive & stabilised until I reached the ICU at Leeds General Infirmary. Had it not been for these people & the YAA service, I would not have survived my accident. I owe them my life, something that can't be quantified in money terms. I want to repay them the only way I can. It costs £9,000 a day to 'Keep It Up'. By sponsoring Chris or Craig, or buying some of the many items we will have for sale via this site or eBay, you can help keep it operational and ready to help those who will need it in the future.

Rugby League Cares Our mission is to enhance and enrich

Rugby League Cares

"I wouldn't have come through the other side"

The rugby league community gave me an incredible level of care & support that sustained me & my family, emotionally & financially, when my days were darkest. Without that care & support, I wouldn't have come through the other side to be where I am today. I'm not the only person to have suffered serious injury playing the game, or to have been in need of help & support in tough times. It was there when I needed it. I believe those of us who enjoy rugby league have a responsibility to look after our own. By raising as much as possible for Rugby League Cares, I want to ensure everything I've been fortunate to receive is replenished and there for those who may need it in future. Sponsoring myself, Sally, Hayley, or buying some memorabilia, will help to achieve that.


The Marathon King JustGiving page will be online soon.

The Team

These are the five dedicated rugby league people who have bravely volunteered to put in what will be a not inconsiderable amount of training to make it possible for me to take on the London Marathon course when the time comes. The effort and time put into making all this happen has been and continues to be immense. I am the youngest team member by quite a few years, some of my team mates aren't far off qualifying for Saga discounts or free pens for applying to take out over 50's life plans!

 

Matt King OBE

Nickname: Milton
I won't bore you with anything more about me, other than to say I am absolutely determined to lead my team and do everything possible to hit the huge fundraising target we have set ourselves. Did I forget to mention I had the privilege of being an Olympic torchbearer for London 2012? I even did a donut in Dunstable on Day 52 with it fixed to my chair!!

Chris Hawkins

Nickname: Hot Pants
It's entirely Chris's fault I ended up doing the Great North Run twice and then the New York Marathon. He has done each race with me and is again to blame for what's going to happen in London. He's a lifelong Rugby League supporter, Watersheddings was his playground as a child, and he managed to take in 18 games during the 2013 RLWC. A Lancastrian exiled in Yorkshire, this will be his one and only London Marathon. Being the elder statesman of the team, he's getting too old for this running lark. Tunnock's Tea Cakes are his nemesis. Resistance to them is futile.

Craig Drake

Nickname: Beanzie
A Bradfordian through and through, Craig is a masochist. The glory days at Odsal may be a distant memory, but he's a Bradford Bulls season ticket holder and is sticking by his team. It's fair to say, he's a proper Rugby League fan. He is an experienced runner who has been in the team for each of the three races I've done and he's volunteered again so he can tick London off his bucket list. He idolises Nike+. He is the vertically challenged member of the team who ends every working day at his double glazing business with a visit to a coffee shop.

Sally Walters-Thomas

Nickname: BossLady
Sally was brought up in a rugby league family. Her father Ralph played professionally for both Hull clubs. Rovers from 1954-59 and FC from 1959-64. Watching the game from the age of 11, she has seen the good, bad and truly awful times with the Robins. Not content with just watching men play, she wanted to boss them around and, in 2006, took a match officials course. Her latest appointments were in the 2013 Women's World Cup group games and as a reserve for the final. As if that wasn't enough, Sally and husband Barry were Team13 volunteers for the 2013 RLWC.

Hayley Russell

Nickname: Beep Beep
A self confessed exercise addict, Hayley makes the rest of us look like couch potatoes. This will be her 4th London Marathon to add to numerous half marathons, bike riding prowess and a handicap of 14 on the fairways and greens. Her love of a challenge saw Hayley complete the 2013 London & Manchester marathons in the space of 7 days. She paid a heavy price, she couldn’t put nice heels on for weeks. The great sense of humour she possesses has been tested to the limit watching her Warrington Wolves in the play offs & in her role as a director of a children's nursery.

Paul O'Brien

Nickname: Pob
No character similarity, simply a play on his initials. Paul does Rugby League the hard way. He's a Widnes Vikings season ticket holder and ex referee. His work can be equally demanding, an A&E Nurse of 11 year's experience he recently took up a new role as an Emergency Nurse Practitioner. A member of our 2006 GNR and 2007 NYC teams, this will be his third London Marathon. He relaxes by spending time with his wife and little girl. Peace talks are planned to avoid open hostility between rival factions in the team. Paul says he won't start if she doesn't.

Support Marathon King by bidding on one of our auctions!

These are some of the fantastic items kindly donated and made to help push our fundraising total towards it's target. We will leave them open to bids until a suitable bid is received, at which point the highest bidder will be notified & the item marked as sold.

Limited Edition Melbourne Storm 'Superman' Shirt

Limited Edition Melbourne Storm 'Superman' Shirt

Signed by ARL Kangaroos & Storm captain Cameron Smith, Billy Slater & Cooper Cronk. A one off shirt from the RLWC2013 winning Storm trio.

Limited Edition South Sydney Rabbitohs House of El Shirt

Limited Edition South Sydney Rabbitohs House of El Shirt

Signed by Slammin' Sam and Thomas Burgess. Embroidered with details of the game Souths played in the shirt. Just two of these Burgess boys shirts were made.

Limited Edition 'Band of Brothers' England shirts

Limited Edition 'Band of Brothers' England Shirts

Signed by Sam, Thomas & George Burgess. Superbly embroidered with their manes in Blue and their RLWC2013 match appearance details in gold. Only 3 ever made and signed.

Please ensure you make it clear which item and the amount of your bid. Payment can be made via cheque, bank transfer or PayPal. Items will be sent special delivery once payment is received & cleared.

Bids can be made via our contact form or email which can be found below.

Supporters

Many people have helped me in the past. If there is anything you can do, in whatever form, to help my team please get in touch. We have already received many offers, be it a donation of items or practical help, and everyone who is able to step forward will be added to this page as we progress towards the start line.


Many people have helped me in the past. If there is anything you can do, in whatever form, to help my team please get in touch. We have already received many offers, be it a donation of items or practical help, and everyone who is able to step forward will be added to this page as we progress towards the start line.


Steve McNamara & England RL staff - shirt signing session at Loughborough Wednesday 20th November 2013.

Sam, George & Thomas Burgess - England Rugby League & South Sydney Rabbitohs shirts signing.

Cameron Smith, Billy Slater & Cooper Cronk - Melbourne Storm 'Superman' shirt signing.

Rob Burrow - Leeds Rhinos 'Superman' shirts signing.

Lisa Hudson

Margaret Wilson

The LGI Team