North Devon residents have been taking on marathons in their gardens during the coronavirus lockdown to raise money for good causes.
Mark James from Ilfracombe, Matt Hunt from Roborough and Stan Patement from Torrington have all taken on the 26.2-mile challenge and raised money for charities.
Ilfracombe man Mark raised funds for NHS Charities Together by completing 131 laps of his garden on Tuesday, April 14.
With family working on the frontline in the NHS and care homes, the 50-year-old said he wondered what he could do to help
Mark is a member of Ilfracombe Running Club and had never ran a marathon before – despite years of attempts to enter the London Marathon. He said this run was like no other.
“The garden is on three levels so there were a lot of steps – it was a long, gruelling day,” said Mark.
“But you’ve got go through it – I was raising money for a good cause and my family were cheering me on and telling me how much money I was raising.”
Mark completed the effort in six hours and has raised more than £1,100.
“I wasn’t expecting to raise anything like that amount but it’s amazing to reach it,” he said.
Retired fireman Matt’s ‘Isolation Mountain Marathon’ saw him do 130 laps of his garden and some land adjoining it.
Not only did he cover the marathon distance, but he totalled more than 1,000m in inclines – the equivalent of the likes of Snowdon.
The 51-year-old has raised money for Barum Boxing Club, which is crowdfunding to cover the costs of overheads it would usually raise through subscriptions.
Matt, who trains at the club, was looking for a way to give something back while isolating when he saw the crowdfunding page.
He completed the feat in six hours and 13 minutes, changing direction every five laps to reduce the strain on his body. He has raised £600 for the club.
“It was never about the time and wasn’t about me,” he said.
“I have a strong belief that the backbone of this country is charity organisations and volunteer groups.
“The club provides a valuable resource for the community, giving kids some focus and a sense of purpose, self esteem, self confidence and life skills. If it’s not there it would be a gaping hole.”
Teenager Stan Pateman had never ran more than eight miles when he decided to take on the challenge at his home in Torrington on April 5.
The 16-year-old completed half of the effort in his garden before completing the second half around the town – taking care to observe social distancing.
He has raised £500 for NHS Charities Together after what started as a challenge from his dad.
He said: “We saw on the news about people running marathons on their balconies, and I thought how hard can it be?
“I run a bit, but not marathons, but thought I could do it. The first half went really well and felt good, but the second half, although a bit faster, my legs hurt a lot more.
“It was hard. I was in a lot of pain afterward but it felt really good to do it.”
Stan, who completed the distance in six hours and nine minutes, said the efforts of NHS staff and the risks they were facing during the pandemic was ‘commendable’ and thanked everyone who has supported his efforts and sponsored him.