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Can’t marathon this spring? CoronaThon instead!

A Scottish runner has just launched the ‘CoronaThon’, a virtual running challenge that’s attracting sign-ups from around the world.

Organiser David Eccles from Turriff told runABC Scotland online, “I got the idea when I was out running with a friend, just before lockdown. I thought it would be good to commit to running a certain distance, like a 10k, every day that the current situation continued. I thought of it kind of like the Marcothon – and so the CoronaThon was born.”

After signing up to Eccles’ challenge, ‘CoronaThoners’ must run 5k (or more) every day of the pandemic, or at least 31 days of it, starting from the day they sign up.

Runners are reminded to follow their own country's advice on running and social distancing, as well as use their own common sense when planning their runs.

Proof of mileage is not required – as many factors beyond a runner's control might interrupt a well-intentioned streak at the moment – but runners are encouraged to post pictures or tracks from their runs on the associated CoronaThon Strava club (CoronaThon).

Eccles set himself a target of 1000 registered runners for the CoronaThon, a number he has already reached on Strava. He said: “This week we had someone post pictures of their dusty trail run in South Africa and another posting snaps from a woodland trail in the US. It’s clearly catching on!

“I was worried that the lockdown we had last Monday would kill the CoronaThon off, so I was very pleased to hear both Nicola and Boris specifically say we could carry on running – with the current restrictions in mind of course.”

The manager of a football club in ‘normal times’, the gradual disappearance of group sport over the past fortnight or so has meant that Eccles has had a bit more time on his hands than usual.

He’s designed the UK-produced medals himself, and the T-shirts – also to be produced in the UK – are just getting some finishing touches. Runners will receive both by post 31 days after they register.

Asked why he made the CoronaThon into a public challenge rather than keeping it private, Eccles explained: “I just really felt this was something I wanted to do, to try to make something good out of all this.

“Runners are a funny bunch. We need a goal, and without one, many of us might just resort to sitting around the house eating crisps. The CoronaThon is there to help us keep our fitness and motivation up while races are cancelled and we’re otherwise stuck in the house.

“But it’s about more than fitness. Running helps a lot of us deal with the stress of the current situation, and ease off the pressures of the day. By committing to running every day, hopefully people are also committing to reducing their stress.

“And with the spring racing calendar basically cancelled, and who knows what will happen over the next few months, I also wanted to make sure runners can add at least one medal and T-shirt to their collections this year!”

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