Thousands Tuned In to This Runner’s Backyard Marathon Live on Facebook

More than 400,000 people have now viewed Gareth Allen’s race in his backyard.

After seeing in the news that a man in China ran a 50K in his living room, Gareth Allen, 47, felt immediately inspired to do something similar. He took out his tape measure, headed out to his backyard, and figured out how many laps it would take him to complete 26.2 miles.

After some pretty serious calculations, he realized he could do it, but something was still missing for his usual racing experience.

‘My favorite part about running is not actually running itself, but instead it’s the social aspect, so I started thinking about how I could bring that in my garden marathon,” he told Runner’s World U.K.

Gareth decided the best way to get people involved was to livestream his race. He set up a Facebook event and shared it with his friends, and the marathon quickly became bigger than he had ever expected; at one point during the race 4,000 people were livestreaming the event, watching and commenting on Gareth’s performance.

“I got loads of brilliant support through the stream, comments were coming in from all over the world. Some people even seemed to be adding their own commentary,” he said. “My family got involved and started reading out the comments as they were posted—it gave me a lot of incentive to keep going.”

His initial goal was to run 1,066 laps of his backyard, the equivalent of a full marathon. However, he gave his audience a challenge to reach £1,066 in donations to see him run for six hours, meaning he had to run for another hour past his marathon length.

The video has now reached more than 400,000 views on Facebook, and Gareth has become a runners’ hero, inspiring other athletes to do the same.

“It’s been completely crazy, I’ve had people message me from Italy, Nigeria, Argentina, and Australia,” Gareth said.

Gareth even managed to avoid a backyard marathon runner’s worst nightmare: pinecones.

“There were a couple of close calls, but I managed to steer clear,” he joked.

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