‘Kevin Sinfield called me nuts’ – Meet the Leicester Tigers coach supporting Tiffany and Tom Youngs

As a result of the Premiership’s expansion to 13 teams, Leicester Tigers have no fixture over the coming days. Just do not call it a rest week for the table-toppers. Having carved out a healthy advantage over chasing rivals with eight consecutive wins, Tigers are also leading the way for gruelling charity challenges.

Kevin Sinfield’s 101-mile, 24-hour run from the East Midlands to Leeds between Monday and Tuesday captivated the nation. Will Findlay, one of Leicester’s strength-and-conditioning coaches, completed the second 84km of the remarkable grind and has added another half-marathon every day since. Indeed, he has spent the entire month of November raising money and awareness for a cause close to his club.

Earlier this year, the 22-year-old fielded an “horrendous” phone call from Ben Youngs to inform him that Tiffany, the wife of former Tigers captain Tom, was fighting a serious illness. Findlay had come to know the Youngs family while growing up in Norfolk.

As a scrum-half himself, who was part of the Tigers academy and represented Leeds, he idolised Ben. Nick Youngs, the brothers’ father and an ex-England and Tigers half-back, would visit Langley School a couple of evenings a week for coaching sessions with Findlay.

Some years later, Findlay joined Tigers on a secondment from his sport and exercise science degree at Loughborough University. That has subsequently turned into a full-time job as he completes his studies. But, upon hearing of the deterioration in Tiffany’s health, Findlay sat down with Sinfield. The idea of 30 half-marathons in the 30 days of November was born and, when Leicester announced that Tom would be taking indefinite leave from playing to support Tiffany, he could begin.

“I’ve always been fit but until, I think, seven weeks before the challenge, I hadn’t run more than 7km,” explains Findlay, who to date has raised over £23,000 for a charity chosen by the Youngs family. “I basically panicked and did 14 half-marathons over three-and-a-bit weeks prior to the first one to get a grip of what I was trying to do.

“It’s funny now, but on day one of the challenge I actually had shin splints. My body was just saying: ‘What are you doing?’ I made sure I did them fast, between 90 and 95 minutes, so if I did them a bit slower [during the challenge] I would be alright.”

He has been alright, with variety distracting from the pain of a punishing month. Tom accompanied Findlay, with Tiffany watching, for a special day at Gresham’s School in Norfolk. Findlay completed one run in Loughborough, with university pals present. Just this week, fresh from their England exploits, Ben Youngs and Freddie Steward drove back to Leicester from East Anglia for half-marathon number 24.

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