Great Britain

IT consultant runs lockdown marathon in back garden and is watched by 350,000 on live stream

LAWN DISTANCE

An IT consultant ran a marathon in his back garden while in lockdown - and was watched on by hundreds of thousands of Britons as he live streamed it.

Nearly 350,000 people tuned into Gareth Allen's live video of him running around the same 130ft loop in his cosy garden in Southampton, Hants.

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The father of three, 47, marked out the makeshift circuit using old tape and flower pots - and did 1,254 laps of it, changing direction every 100 laps.

Thousands of Britons isolated at home amid the coronavirus outbreak commented on the video to praise Mr Allen - with one claiming: "Better than watching NASCAR!"

Married Mr Allen, a keen runner with 159 marathons and ultra marathons under his belt, finished the 26.2 miles in five hours and two minutes - a little under an hour short of what it usually takes him because "the corners slowed him down".

Despite finishing the marathon in 1,064 laps, Mr Allen pledged to keep running for a total of six hours to raise money for charity and in the end ran 30.8 miles (1,254 laps).

Today he said: "Because of the lockdown it has been hard to go out for long distance runs. I thought 'what can I do to get out for longer runs?'

'IT WAS INCREDIBLE'

"I had this idea so I got some flower pots out and a tape measure and then I started doing the maths and realised it might actually be possible.

"I wanted to have other people involved. I put it out there on social media and it just snowballed, the number of people saying they were interested got ridiculous."

"I had to change my direction every 100 laps because of the strain it puts on you.

"To think so many people watched me run completely blows me away, it was more than I could have ever expected.

Mr Allen raised more than £2,500 for two local charities close to his heart which provide support for special needs children.

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