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A New Hampshire Man Ran A Marathon In His Backyard For Charity


Stuck inside for weeks with pent-up energy, many of us are finding new ways to stay fit. And some of us are taking it to extremes.


MATT LEBLANC: Hello, everyone. This is going to be the live feed. We're about time. It's 9 o'clock, so I'm going to start off. All right, without further ado...

KELLY: That is Matt LeBlanc in Somersworth, N.H., about to run a marathon in his backyard. He joins us now for a little post-race analysis. Matt, welcome.

LEBLANC: Oh, thank you for having me.

KELLY: So I watched that video. I should note, your backyard, while absolutely lovely, is not gigantic. Describe the course.

LEBLANC: Well, it's flat at least. It is a...

KELLY: That's something.

LEBLANC: Yes, it is something. It was 200-foot loop, so 222-foot circumference around. And it's not much. There's grass and just a small backyard.

KELLY: Yeah. And you ran - I mean, you ran that 200-foot loop for hours. How long did it take you?

LEBLANC: It ended up being around four hours and 40 minutes.

KELLY: Yeah.

LEBLANC: I had to do 623 loops to make it a marathon.

KELLY: Did...

LEBLANC: So it was definitely - got to know the backyard very well.

KELLY: I can imagine. Were you changing direction every few laps? My knees are feeling this as you're talking.

LEBLANC: That was definitely the hardest part - the corners. There were certainly sharp corners. Yeah, every five miles I would - I switched it up. I turned around, and I went the other way. And my legs definitely were thankful for that every time I did.

KELLY: Now I'm told that you're a teacher. You teach special ed. And I understand the inspiration for this came from a middle school math class that you teach. Tell me the story.

LEBLANC: Yeah. So when we were switching over to remote learning, New Hampshire - when we were starting to switch over from brick and mortar to the remote learning, I - we had to just come up with some, like, on the fly, some different ways to learn. And so I started trying to think of different real-world math problems I could come up with for my students. And so we were - one of the things that came to my head since I run so much was to try to figure out how many laps it would take to run a marathon in my backyard. And it started off just theoretical, but it ended up being - turning out to be a little bit more realistic pretty quick.

KELLY: (Laughter) Very real indeed. So how many laps did you need to run?

LEBLANC: Six-hundred-and-twenty-three ended up being the amount of lap - yeah, so 623 times around.

KELLY: Are you still having nightmares about this, or are you glad you did it?

LEBLANC: I'm really glad I did it. It was definitely very inspiring because I had a lot - we had it live on YouTube. So people were shouting out comments, and my wife was actually yelling them out to me as I ran around. It was the first marathon I've ever done where I actually had someone be able to talk to me the whole time, so that was kind of nice.

KELLY: Oh, right.

LEBLANC: But it was definitely mind-numbing.

KELLY: She was kind of pacing you (laughter) in a way.

LEBLANC: What was that? I'm sorry.

KELLY: She was pacing you in a way.

LEBLANC: Yeah, in a way. Yeah, while sitting in a chair. It was kind of nice.

KELLY: And you managed to raise some money. How much did you raise, and where did you send that money?

LEBLANC: Yeah. I raised $2,240. And it - I was able to raise that for the local food bank here in Somersworth. It helps four surrounding small towns.

KELLY: Yeah. That's great. Congratulations. Do you get to take some time off from running, or are you back at it?

LEBLANC: I'm back at it. I took three days, and then I was kind of back on running around. And part of the reason that I ran in the backyard was try to raise awareness just to stay local and stay home. The running community, we're all disappointed that our races are canceled for the year - most of us in the spring. But...

KELLY: Well...

LEBLANC: ...There's still ways to try to be - give back to the community and try to give back and be inspiring.

KELLY: You have blazed the trail for us all. Matt LeBlanc of Somersworth, N.H. - he ran an entire marathon in his backyard. Matt, thank you.

LEBLANC: Thank you so much for having me.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.