Dad plans on running 100km – the distance from Dubai to Abu Dhabi – in his back garden

Lee Ryan will tackle the challenge this Friday, a week after completing a back garden marathon

Adidas runners captain Lee Ryan shows off the drawing and trophy his daughters gave him for completing his backyard marathon. Courtesy Lee Ryan
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For most people, the mere thought of running a marathon is exhausting, let alone within the confines of your back garden, tracing the same 30 metres back and forth for 42.2 kilometres (that’s 1,407 lengths, if you’re wondering).

But that's exactly what Dubai runner Lee Ryan did last Friday morning. And he's about to go one step further, running 100 kilometres in his back garden.

“I tend to be that person that comes up with silly ideas, and once it’s in my head, I either need to find a reason good enough to stop me doing it, or actually get it done,” he says.

The Dubai marathon is still possible

The Dubai marathon is still possible

The run will recreate a distance he tackled last year when he ran from Dubai to Abu Dhabi along the side of the Sheikh Zayed Road.

That run came about when Ryan, who is captain of Adidas Runners Dubai, launched the initiative in the capital, and wanted to show solidarity with runners there.

“That was just over a year ago, and I called that ‘The Great Run’. Obviously now I can’t revisit that, so the idea is to do it in my garden. Not to tell people they need to do these incredible big feats, but just as my challenge to pay testament to the incredible healthcare workers. I’m going to run for as long as they are working.”

And while Ryan doesn’t want to put a time on how long this challenge will take him to complete, it will at least match a full day’s shift, perhaps more.

“I’m under no technical pressure. There’s no medal at the end, there’s no finish line or time, so technically, I can’t fail. I want to do it as quickly and continuously as possible, but if I need to stop to help my wife do something with the kids, then I will. If they want me to push them down the slide, I’ll stop and push them down the slide.”

Ryan’s two daughters, Lily, 5, and Sophia, 3, were there to cheer him on last Friday, and even ran a few lengths with him, and will there to do the same this weekend.

“The more you get the family involved, you more you get a harmonious environment at home and everyone is a bit happier,” he says. “In this environment, things can get a bit stressful. But I want to show people that there are ways to fit in exercise around everyday life by working with what they have, and hopefully inspire others to do the same.”

Ryan finishes the marathon as his daughters wait for him at the finish line. Courtesy Lee Ryan
Ryan finishes the marathon as his daughters wait for him at the finish line. Courtesy Lee Ryan

Ryan hasn’t worked out how many lengths of his garden it will take to hit 100 kilometres, and he is not going to either. But he has set himself a start time of 3am, in the hope of getting a large chunk of the distance out of the way before the morning sun begins to bake.

“I’m just going to keep running and clock up the miles, have a strategy on food and rest, but I’m not going to be counting,” he says. “I’m a bit apprehensive, because it’s going to be tough. I know it is. I’m going to have to channel the right energy. But I’m of the firm belief that if the mind is in it first, the body will follow.”

And what will he be doing to recover from his epic run on Friday evening? Starting another marathon. Although this time, from the sofa, as he dips into the first season of Game of Thrones.