Collin and Hilda Allin. Picture: SUPPLIED
Collin and Hilda Allin. Picture: SUPPLIED

Dubai — An SA couple who ran a marathon on the balcony of their Dubai apartment and streamed it online plan to take the project global to help people shake off the coronavirus blues.

Collin and Hilda Allin covered the 42.2km by running more than 2,100 laps of their 20m long balcony from dawn on Saturday. A stopwatch provided by the couple shows they covered the distance in 5hr 9 min 39 sec.

“We did it ... #balconymarathon,” Collin Allin said on Instagram, congratulating his wife on her first marathon and thanking the virtual crowd that cheered them on.

“Thank you for all the love and support for doing something silly ... was great to have you all along for the ride,” he said.

The couple’s 10-year-old daughter, Geena, acted as race director, putting up signs marking “start” and “turn around” and providing her parents with water and snacks as well as inspirational music.

Allin said he planned to organise a “bigger, global and more inclusive run next” where people who are under lockdown but keen to stretch their legs can join for a few kilometres or more.

“This is about giving people something else to think about,” Allin told AFP. “It’s about getting people to connect, as everyone is worried about the impact of coronavirus.”

The pandemic has wiped out international sporting schedules and triggered lockdowns that have limited options for outdoor exercise in many countries, but enterprising people have found ways to fit in a workout.

Elisha Nochomovitz, who lives near the French city of Toulouse, ran a marathon on his balcony, which measures just 7m. He reportedly managed the feat in 6hr 48 min, nearly double his best marathon finish time.

The UAE, of which Dubai is a member, imposed a Thursday to Sunday night-time lockdown to allow for outdoors and public transport sanitation operations.

With almost 500 cases of the novel coronavirus and two deaths, it has also been promoting a “stay home” campaign, a message lit up on top of Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower.