John Pemberton who retired from playing rugby after over 1,000 games and took up refereeing is running the London Marathon to raise funds and awareness for the RFU Injured Players Foundation (IPF).

He says: “As an avid rugby player, I was very lucky in terms of injury and I barely missed a match. When I finished playing, to maintain my involvement I took up refereeing. I’m a member of the Manchester Society and referee at level 6, with most of my games in North West 1. Taking up running was a consequence of this as I needed to maintain a good level of fitness to handle these games.

“In the last few years, I have become aware of a couple of cases where players have received significant life changing injuries. I’ve also seen the great work that the foundation does, stepping in, at a moment’s notice to provide the support, both financial and emotional, that these players need on the long road ahead.

“I decided that during the 2018-19 season, I will do what I can to raise funds for the foundation so they can continue their good work into the future. As I travel round the clubs in the North West, I will be raising awareness of the IPF and promoting my run at the London Marathon in April 2019. Each Saturday, for training, I will run 10k in the morning (or referee a school match), referee a match in the afternoon, then run a further 5k round the pitch.”

You can donate towards John’s fundraising for the 2019 London Marathon at

Inspired to take on your own challenge to support injured players? Places are still available in the IPF’s 2019 Vitality London 10,000 and Prudential Ride London 100 events. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit to sign-up today.

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