As lockdowns become more and more common across the globe to flatten the curve of the coronavirus outbreak, runners are becoming more desperate to fit in their training. Whether people are running on balconies, in their apartments or in their yards, runners everywhere are finding unique places to work out. Gareth Allen has officially joined this list of quarantine-runners after he ran a marathon around a 130-foot course in his backyard in Southampton, U.K., which he called The Garden Marathon.
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At the start of 2020, Allen set out to run 12 100-mile races in under 12 months to raise money for the Great Oaks School and the Hurricanes Rugby Club in Southampton, which both work with students and players, respectively, with learning disabilities. He ran his first 100-miler on January 30, and his second was set for March 27 in Ireland, but it was cancelled due to COVID-19.
In the U.K., citizens are encouraged to “only leave the house for very limited purposes,” which includes “one form of exercise a day,” according to the British government’s website. Allen decided he would forego a short run around Southampton and instead go long in his backyard. He streamed his run on Facebook live, where over 334,000 people tuned in over his six hours of running.
Allen also had a Facebook event page where he introduced The Garden Marathon, which he described as, “Just me running round my back garden 1000 or so times.” To be exact, he ended up running 1,254 laps, which worked out to 49.688 kilometres in six hours. He originally planned to run just the marathon, which was 1,066 laps, but he said if the day’s donations reached £1,066 ($1,849), he would run until the six-hour mark. He passed through 42K in 5:02:20.
Allen’s original goal on his GoFundMe page was £2,000 ($3,469), but yesterday’s run pushed him well over that, up to more than £2,500. After the run, he posted a video on Facebook thanking everyone for their support, and he said he will continue to work towards running 1200 miles over the course of 2020, whether in sanctioned events or not, and he hopes to raise even more money moving forward.