Coronavirus: a balcony marathon

A South African couple has run a marathon on the balcony of their apartment in Dubai and plans to scale up the project to help people fight the blues of the new coronavirus.
C ollin Allin, 41, and his wife Hilda traveled 42.2 km, making more than 2,100 round trips to their balcony, some 20 meters long, on Saturday.

A stopwatch shown by the couple, who broadcast the marathon online, indicates that the distance was covered in 5 hours, 9 minutes and 39 seconds.

“We did it,” said Collin on Instagram under the hashtag #balconymarathon, “congratulating his wife on her very first marathon and thanking people for their encouragement.

“Thank you for all the love and support […] It was great to have you throughout the race,” he said.

The couple’s daughter, Geena, 10, acted as race director, installing “start” and “turn around” signs and providing her parents with water and snacks and a inspirational music.

Collin said he plans to organize a “bigger, more comprehensive and more inclusive race” to allow people who feel trapped but want to stretch their legs to join the race for a few kilometers or more.

“It’s about letting people think about other things,” he said before the race on Friday. “It’s about getting people to connect when they are concerned about the impact of the coronavirus.”

The pandemic has disrupted the calendar of sports competitions around the world and limited the possibilities of practicing outdoor sports.

On a seven-meter-long balcony in southwest France, a 32-year-old man made more than 6,000 round trips, relaying his marathon on Instagram where many of his followers encouraged him throughout his race which lasted more than six hours. Another walked around its terrace 727 times, completing the 42.2 kilometers in just over five hours to the applause of the neighbors.

The United Arab Emirates has imposed nightly travel restrictions, except for essential workers, to allow for cleaning and disinfection.

With 468 cases of infection and two deaths, the UAE also encourages residents to stay at home during the day and only go out when necessary.

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