RRW: Backyard Marathon Raises $28,000 for Charity

By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2020 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

(01-Apr) — A Cheltenham, England man raised £22,363 (USD 27,708) today for charity by running a full 42.195-kilometer marathon in his backyard on a course barely longer than six meters.  James Campbell, 32, a former javelin thrower who holds the Scottish record for that discipline, ran back and forth 6593 times (3296 laps) in a time of 5:05:33 on a live YouTube stream hosted by sports broadcaster Vinco.

James Campbell speaking on his Twitter feed the day before he ran a marathon in his backyard to raise money for Britain’s NHS (photo via Twitter)

“Lost for words at the response to this,” Campbell wrote on his JustGiving page where donations poured in for Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).  “Thank you all so much for the support & donations! Can’t say thank you enough. God bless the NHS!”

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Remarkably, Campbell only got the idea for the marathon yesterday afternoon.  Sheltering in place at home like all Britons to help fight the spread of COVID19, he posted a photo on his Twitter feed of his backyard writing: “10,000 retweets & I’ll run a marathon in my back garden. It’s about 6 metres long.”  The post got over 23,000 retweets, so Campbell stretched two pieces of duct tape on the ground 6.4 meters apart and posted a video on Twitter committing to run.

“Thank you to everyone who re-tweeted,” said the bearded Campbell who celebrated his birthday today.  “The support has been absolutely incredible.  He continued: “It should be a birthday to remember.”

Campbell set up a small table for drinks and snacks, and began running this morning.  He started a Twitter hashtag of #6metregardenmarathon and hoped to raise £10,000 (USD 12,390).   By the time he started, he had already raised over £6,000 (USD 7434).

“Obviously, it’s going to be a pretty tough day,” he said before he started, conversing with respected athletics commentator Rob Walker who agreed to lend his voice to the event.  “It’s all for a good cause and only one day of my life.  I’ll find a way to get through it.”

Campbell began to run, jogging to each line then pivoting to go the other direction.  Back and forth he went, trying to establish a rhythm.

“He’s got a long, long way to go,” commented Walker who spoke from his own home.

Chipping away, Campbell completed the full distance despite that fact that he had not done any specific training.  He showed a photo of his FitBit on his JustGiving page showing that he had competed 42.27 kilometers.

“I’ll update again later once I’ve refueled,” he wrote.

Praise poured in for Campbell over social media.

“Unbelievable achievement!!” tweeted 2016 European Athletics Championships long jump silver medalist Jazmin Sawyers.  “Amazing commentary meant I’ve been gripped watching this all day, over 18k raised for the NHS, can’t believe he actually did it, unreal!”

“Brilliant!,” added Sir Geoff Hurst a former professional footballer with West Ham United.  “Many, many, congratulations @jcampbell0104, supreme effort, over £18k now, well done to you.”

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