The COVID-19 epidemic has closed down all running races, meetings of running clubs and even many running trails and paths around the world. With so many dedicated runners in every country, there is nothing that governments could do to stop people from completing their scheduled miles.
Around the world, many runners have challenged themselves to try and run long distances in small amounts of space. Possibly the first one willing to try this was Pan Shancu. Shancu lives in Hangzhou, China and was quarantined in his home even before the virus spread around the world. As he became more and more bored each day, he decided to put his amateur marathoning skills to the test and ran 6,250 laps around two tables in his living room for a total of 31 miles.
“Yes, one lap is about eight meters (twenty-six feet) — I ran fifty kilometers (thirty-one miles), and did it in four hours, forty-eight minutes and forty-four seconds, sweated all over, feels great!” Shancu said after completing the workout.
Shancu set this goal purely because of his boredom at the time and his passion for running. A couple other athletes completed similar tasks for the same reasons but also to help battle the coronavirus.
After the spread of COVID-19 and the lockdown in England, James Campbell used his constant free time and desire to help get rid of the coronavirus to motivate himself to run a marathon (26.2 miles) in his six meter² backyard. The #6metregardenmarathon was live-streamed and helped Campell raise over twenty thousand pounds to donate to Britain’s National Health Service for the fight against coronavirus. Campbell’s backyard marathon was accomplished with the help of the thousands of live-stream viewers and his neighbors who regularly popped over the fence to cheer him on.
With this positive running energy flowing around, thirty-two year old Frenchman, Elisha Nochomovitzran back and forth along his twenty-three foot long balcony until he reached 26.2 miles. Although Nochomovitz has run thirty-six marathons in the past, because of the small amount of space which restricted him from gaining any momentum, he found this one to be the most challenging. Nochomovitz dedicated this painful six hours and forty-eight minutes to the selfless medical workers who risk their own health for the safety of others during this time.
After hearing Nochomovitz’s story, Forrester Safford of Virginia decided to test out his running capabilities as well. With the support from his wife and their cat, Raegan, Safford ran the length of a marathon at 2:00am around his driveway.
“I like to get my runs over with no matter what,” Safford said.. “No matter what length I’m running, the earlier the better. And then also I didn’t really want my neighbors kind of thinking that I lost it.”
Marathons are hard enough as they are so it is very impressive that these four men and many others around the globe were able to complete one on their own in such a small area of space. As the lockdown continues and boredom spreads, it is important that people are staying active and doing what they enjoy even if it is as crazy as running laps around their house.