There is no question that the recent outbreak of the coronavirus has already had a profound impact on the lives of millions of people. This is especially true in China, where the virus originated and thousands find themselves under quarantine as entire cities are shutoff from the outside. As troubling as the virus has become however, many people continue to lead as normal of an existence as they can, while still trying to limit their exposure to the virus. That includes some Chinese marathon runners who have come up with a novel way to stay fit, while also confined to their homes.
According to a story from the South China Morning Post, two long-distance runners claim to have continued their training by running indoors inside their apartments. The trend first popped up when marathoner Pan Shancu claimed to have run 50 km (31 miles) around two tables in his dining room. Not to be outdone, a second runner named Cheng Yanchun says that he has upped the ante, running for 100 km around his apartment as well. In Yanchun’s case, he says it took him about 8 hours to complete the run, which has caused many online to question his claims.
Videos posted by Yanchun show him running at a fairly slow pace and even eating from a bowl has he makes is laps around his small home. This drew the attention of the online running community in China, with numerous people calling him out. Most point to his slow pace as an indicator that he couldn’t possibly have run 100 km in such a relatively short time. Others point out that GPS is notoriously unreliable over short distances and when used indoors. Yanchun has responded to this criticism by saying that his actual time was probably closer to ten hours when adjustments were made for short breaks and other variables.
There was a time when I would run indoors at a gym during the winter months. That track was so short that I had to go around seven times to equal a mile. I got so incredibly board that I vowed to be more prepared to run outdoors the following winter, acquiring the right gear to make that happen. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to run 50 km around a couple of small tables. That sounds mind-numbing to me. On the other hand, you have to admire these runners dedication to getting their miles in when considering the circumstances. It may not be the best way to train, but it is better than sitting in front of the television and eating snacks. More power to them!