Kettering head coach Brett ready to become the marathon man

He’s played rugby at the highest level but Kettering head coach Brett Sturgess is getting ready for a whole new challenge this weekend.

Thursday, 28th May 2020, 7:26 am
Updated Thursday, 28th May 2020, 7:28 am
Kettering head coach Brett Sturgess will be running a marathon round the Waverley Road pitches this weekend to help raise funds for the club

As part of the club’s efforts to raise £25,000 to help sustain it while no action is possible on the pitch due to the Covid-19 outbreak, Sturgess is doing his bit by running a marathon and he’ll be doing it around the Waverley Road pitches on Saturday.

The 38-year-old came up with the idea himself and it comes off the back of a big effort by officials, players and supporters last month as they took on the ‘2.5/25 Challenge’, which helped raise over £12,000.

Sturgess enjoyed a fine career in the professional game having started out at Northampton Saints before going on to play for Connacht before he joined Exeter Chiefs. He spent nine seasons at Sandy Park before retiring as a professional in 2016.

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After a spell at Ampthill, Kettering-born Sturgess joined his hometown club as player-coach and then stepped up to head coach before leading them to promotion in Midlands One East last year.

Sturgess feels he is prepared for his marathon challenge this weekend but is expecting it to be tough with hot weather expected to continue this weekend.

He said: “It was my idea. The club did the 2.5/25 Challenge on April 25 and there was talk of doing another challenge and it must just be the case that being in lockdown makes you say some crazy things!

“But I have been doing a bit of running and I was doing some challenges with some friends on an app and we set ourselves a target of doing 125km in a month and I had 18 km to go and I thought I would test myself and do that last bit in one go.

“As I was doing it I felt quite good so I rang up the committee and said I had been doing that bit of running and I fancied doing a marathon and do it around the club.

“I had in mind a kind of Forrest Gump thing with people running with me but that’s obviously not possible so instead I will have three people running parts of it with me while keeping two metres apart.

“That’s how it came about and I will be doing it around the three pitches we have at the club, I’m hoping to do it in four hours and I’ll be going live on Facebook while it’s happening.

“Hopefully, others from the club also do their own thing along the same lines as we did in April because the main purpose is to try to raise funds for the club to ensure we are in a good place.

“We have raised over £12,500 and we want to try to get to £25,000 if we can.

“I am going to start around 9am and I think it’s around 63 laps of the three pitches that I have got to do.

“Hopefully I can get the majority of it done before it gets too hot. I am looking to do it in four hours and the last stretch around midday to 1pm will probably be quite tough.

“There’s a bit of a trepidation but I have done a 32km run and I ran a half marathon a couple of weeks ago so I am well set and well prepared.”

Having gained promotion last year, Blues endured a tough campaign in Midlands Premier last season and were eventually relegated when the RFU used a points system to determine the final placings after matches were brought to a halt due to the pandemic.

Now the focus will be switching to a return to Midlands One East but Sturgess remains uncertain about what next season will look like, given the current circumstances.

“We knew it was going to be a massive challenge going into Midlands Premier,” he added.

“With players leaving and then injuries, I’m not sure our squad was as good as the previous season but we knew we would give it a good go.

“But it is a step up and it is a tough league. We are disappointed we got relegated but it wasn’t down to the situation.

“The last four games were taken away from us but I don’t think we can blame the crisis.

“Pre-Christmas we had a dip in form but after Christmas, you could see things were picking up and we got a draw against Broadstreet and that was when the season curtailed off.

“Now we are in a situation where we’re not quite sure how things will look when we get back.

“Unfortunately, I think rugby is going to be one of the last sports to get up and running again because of the nature of it.

“I’m not sure what that will mean for the community game but as coaches, we are just preparing as best we can.

“The best case scenario is that we get going as normal but that seems unlikely but there will hopefully be some sort of rugby in November and that could be ‘Rugby X’ which is what they are talking about which would mean no scrums and less contact.

“It could mean the league restarting in a shorter format in January where you just have 12 games with six at home and six away.

“But ultimately, we can only go by what we are told and what the government and powers-that-be decide.”

If you would like to sponsor Sturgess for his marathon effort or donate money towards the club, visit their Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ketteringrugby