Kept away from roads, runners globally are tuning to marathons at home

Written by Rahul Sadhu

Updated: April 8, 2020 2:48:20 pm

people across the globe are coming out with unique ideas to keep active during long periods of time at home. (Source: AP/Facebook)

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic forcing people into homes as the Chinese government attempted to contain its spread, a marathon runner named Pan Shancu ran a 50-kilometre ultramarathon in his apartment, running over 6,000 laps of his home. As the virus spread across nations prompting lockdowns and keeping runners away from roads and gyms, others began doing something similar.

A day after France was put under lockdown, Elisha Nochomovitz ran a marathon on his balcony on March 17. Gareth Allen, a 47-year-old from Southampton who ran 137 marathons and ultramarathons in the last four years, ran a 26.2-mile course in his backyard garden. James Campbell, a former world-class competitive javelin thrower from Cheltenham in England, ran a marathon in his 20-foot backyard.

Unlike professional athletes who are struggling under the lockdowns, these athletes aren’t running for various causes or even just to keep themselves fit.

James Campbell of Cheltenham, England, runs a marathon in his backyard to raise funds for the United Kingdom’s National Health Service on Wednesday while his country remains in lockdown. (Jacob King/AP)

It has even become an event in one nation. The Dubai Sports Council (DSC), in collaboration with sporting gear brand ASICS and 5:30 Run club, has organised a 42 km race for people to run inside their homes. The event will be a timed 42.192 km race open to people of all ages and abilities, and will take place on April 10, between 8 am and 6 pm with a 10-hour time cap.

Participants can decide the shape of their running course and running on a treadmill or any other training equipment will not be accepted. Running in public areas is also not allowed, the participant has to run inside their house. And there are prizes.

One inspiration for prospective competitors can be Gazcho Fanta, an Israeli marathon runner, who ran the distance in 3 hours and 50 minutes where ran 5,349 laps around the room at an average speed of 5:27 minutes per kilometre.

Gazcho Fanta completes a marathon in his living room while on coronavirus lockdown. (Source: Screenshot.)

Siddharth B, a personal trainer and life coach based in Hyderabad, said that such home marathons aren’t a bad idea for amateur athletes.

“If gyms are shit down it doesn’t mean you can’t train,” he told “People are feeling down right now, the whole world has been affected by a coronavirus, but a marathon is one way to distract ourselves from that.”

“It can reduce calories and another benefit is that the blood pressure will come down,” he said.

“Another good aspect about running indoors is you can always control the weather with fans and even air conditioning if it is too hot or muggy,” Siddharth said.

However, if you are planning on running a marathon in your home, you should know you have a higher risk of injury.

“While this trend seems to help people in good shape, one must also remember that running on a hard surface could be damaging to the knee,” said  Dr. Sanjeev Singh Yadav, President of the Indian Medical Association (Hyderabad).

“So I would still advise people to keep it to light exercise because even if you are an athlete, running on a hard surface could damage your knees in the long run,” he said.

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