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Man runs marathon on 23ft balcony during French lockdown

Elisha Nochomovitz said he is worried too many people are still venturing outside, so took on the challenge within the safety of his apartment.

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French police speak to a man out running in Paris, where such exercise is still allowed (Christophe Ena/AP)

French police speak to a man out running in Paris, where such exercise is still allowed (Christophe Ena/AP)

French police speak to a man out running in Paris, where such exercise is still allowed (Christophe Ena/AP)

In the age of enforced confinement, Elisha Nochomovitz still found a way to run a marathon – back and forth on his balcony in France.

He ran 26.2 miles on his 23ft balcony in six hours and 48 minutes in what he said was a physical and mental challenge.

He has shared his feat in Balma, a suburb of the southern city of Toulouse, as a way “to extend my support to the entire medical personnel who are doing an exceptional job” during the coronavirus outbreak.

We learned in history about wars between nations, men and weapons, but this is something that is beyond usElisha Nochomovitz

He also said he wanted to show others that it is possible to stay fit as virus containment measures tighten around the world – while also lightening the mood.

“It was about launching a bit of a crazy challenge and bringing a bit of humour, to de-dramatise the confinement situation,” he said.

He suffered nausea during his run, and was worried his neighbours would complain about the constant pounding of his footsteps.

The French authorities are still allowing people to go outside for “individual sports” like running, if they sign a special form explaining why.

But the number of joggers has multiplied in recent days, amid exceptionally warm weather, and French authorities are now worried that too many people are still out in the streets.

Mr Nochomovitz said: “If everyone thinks the same way and does the same thing, we’ll all find ourselves outside and that won’t help anything, and the message that we need to stay confined at home will have had no impact.”

Paris runner
People are still allowed to exercise on the streets of France, but need permission to do so (Christophe Ena/AP)

He said he had already been training for a marathon, and “I needed to assure myself that I could still run 40 kilometres whatever the condition”.

While running, he said his mind wandered.

“I thought about many things, what’s going to happen, when I see that the world has stopped, sports, economy, finance,” he said.

“We learned in history about wars between nations, men and weapons, but this is something that is beyond us.”

He especially thought about medics, who he described as “the real everyday heroes”.

And he paid tribute to his girlfriend, “who was giving me drinks and M&Ms” throughout the challenge.

PA