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Psycho thriller Forsyth goes full distance
IT may come as a surprise to rugby league followers used to seeing his bullocking (but generally short) runs up front for York City Knights, but a certain former terrace favourite at Huntington Stadium has swapped his belligerence, brawn and boots for bounding, bikes and a bravura with a difference.
Affectionately nicknamed “Psycho” by Popular Stand regulars, Craig Forsyth, who played 133 times for home-town club York in three spells before retiring aged 35 in 2006, has over the past few years taken up long-distance running and cycling.
And as such, while his flowing mane remains, he is now a trimmed down, streamlined version of his former burly self.
It will culminate in Forsyth, whose father Colin also played for York, running his first 26-miler when he takes on the London Marathon on April 22 — and for a very worthwhile cause too (another reason for writing this piece).
So how did a beefy rugby league prop forward known for his combative ways get into sports which, while still demanding, are more suitable for a more slimline athlete not prone to bashing people about?
“A few years ago, I was going to Super League’s Millennium Magic weekend in Edinburgh,” Forsyth began to explain. “There was this ten-kilometre run on the Sunday, and, as I’d been running a little bit, for some bizarre reason I thought I’d give it a go. It was only then I found out 10k was actually six-and-a-quarter miles, but I still have a competitive edge and I set a target time.
“I finished just outside that so I thought I’d give it another go. I got under that 48-minute target, so I set another target time, and it went from there.
“Then someone said they were doing this duathlon near Chester and would I fancy that. So I bought a bike. I went to see Martyn Miller (a big Knights fan who has sadly passed away) at his York Cycleworks shop and a few of the guys from there asked if I fancied cycling with them.
“I thought, ‘I’ve played rugby league, I’ve got big legs, there’s a couple of women in the group (I know that sounds bad), so I’ll be able to keep up.
“As it turned out, one of them had just won the Tour of Malta and the other was a triathlon champion, so, to put it mildly, it was an eye-opener.
“But I set myself challenges of staying with the group a bit further each week, and that went on from there. Last year I upgraded my bike and I felt I was getting better.”
That competitive edge has since seen Forsyth race in the 100k mountain bike race in Dalby and the York City Centre event, and enter, but unfortunately not finish, last year’s Kielder 100-miler – something he is determined to complete this autumn.
He has also done a duathlon comprising a 10k run, 40k bike ride and 5k run, and he did the Barnsley Half-Marathon last month in one hour 48 minutes. This will be his first marathon. Asked if he was looking forward to it or dreading it, he said: “A bit of both. I usually dread a race beforehand but the euphoria of getting over the finish line more than makes up for it.
“I want to finish in under four hours, that’s my target. For Barnsley I said I wanted to be under 1-55 and if I got under 1-50 I’d be over the moon. I did 1-48 and was a bit disappointed because I thought I could’ve done better. It’s about the challenge you set yourself. I don’t want to ‘just get through it’ but do the best I can.”
The other, notable, reason for Forsyth running the London Marathon is his bid to raise funds for a cause close to home – the Hinderton School for autistic children in Chester. His nephew, Matthew, attended the school and his sister, Julie, works there.
“He’s a cracking lad and it’s a great school,” he said.
Forsyth wants to raise at least £1,500, and anyone can sponsor him, either by phoning him on 07808 473195 or visiting the Just Giving internet page at www.
virginmoneygiving.com/CraigForsyth TALKING of distance running, the Knights have teamed up with York’s ‘Run For All’ event to help to raise money for the club’s Foundation and St Leonard’s Hospice.
The race itself, a 10k, is on Sunday, August 5, starting at 9am at York Racecourse. The route goes on a tour of York, passing the Minster, Clifford’s Tower and the Shambles, and heading towards the riverside.
Runners can gain free entry by running on behalf of the Knights’ charity, on the proviso they raise a minimum of £50 in sponsorship. Anyone interested should phone Emma at the club on 01904 767404 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for information and booking forms.
The Knights will host a free post-run party for all runners and their families and friends at Bar 13 at Huntington Stadium from noon.
JACK Stearman, Aiden Siburn and Kris Brining were the York City Knights try scorers in Thursday’s 30-16 reserve defeat at Oldham. Ben Dent kicked two goals.
It’s Green for go as Chris hits the mark
IT remains to be seen if and when Chris Green will return to Huntington Stadium, but should he come back, he will pick up the Player of the Month prize for March as voted for by readers of The Press.
The young forward made his Super League debut for parent club Hull last week and, given the injury crisis at the KC Stadium, was expected to remain in the first-team frame in the coming weeks – before joining the injury list.
He is now ruled out for a fortnight and the Knights will be hoping the Airlie Birds’ injury woes recede enough for him to be back down their pecking order enough for the top-tier outfit to allow him to resume his stay at Huntington Stadium.
That said, his four appearances (and three tries) for the Knights, though, must have caught the eyes of the Airlie Birds’ first-team selectors – just like those of York fans. He topped their player of the month poll – despite only playing in three of five games in March.
Player-boss Chris Thorman was also impressed.
“He’s been great,” he said. “He can certainly get over the white-wash but he’s not one of those players who only comes alive when close to the line. He puts himself in the right places and he’s saved as many tries as he’s scored. His defence is great. He’s been a model professional.”
Green duly collected the three bonus The Press Player of the Year points, which puts him onto the leaderboard.
Jordan Tansey and James Ford were likewise big movers of the past fortnight with three points each for their man-of-the-match performances against Leigh Centurions and Hull Dockers respectively.
Brett Turner is also three points better off after picking up two and one for being deemed our second-best and third-best player respectively in those two games.
Jack Aldous was our second-best player against the Dockers so got two points, while it was good to see Nathan Freer – last year’s winner of The Press Player of the Year award – make an immediate impression on this year’s standings by collecting a point for being deemed our third-best player at Leigh last week, on his debut after returning from Featherstone.
The Press Player of the Year standings: Thorman 6 points, Aldous 5, Clarke 5, Bush 4, Tansey 4, Ford 4, Sutton 4, Green 3, King 3, Garside 3, Lee 3, Hellewell 3, Sullivan 3, Turner 3, Freer 1.