A 103-year-old Belgian doctor runs a marathon in his garden every day to raise money for research into the new corona virus, inspired by a centenarian who became a hero in the UK for collecting charity miles on a marquee.
Alfons Leempoels, a retired general practitioner, started his 42.2 km journey on June 1 in the Rotselaar municipality, north-east of Brussels, and plans to complete it on June 30.
Every day he runs 10 laps of 145 meters; three in the morning, three in the afternoon and four in the evening. In order not to lose the count, he throws a stick into a bowl each time he ends a round.
Leempoels said the idea came to him when he saw 100-year-old World War II veteran Tom Moore hit a chord in the UK by raising the equivalent of more than $ 40 million for the country's healthcare by he went through his garden.
"My children said that I can walk at least as well as Tom Moore and I'm 103 years old," he told Reuters.
"So they suggested that maybe I should do something. My granddaughter had just run a marathon and as a joke I said: I'm going to run a marathon."
Leempoels hopes to raise funds for the hospital at nearby Leuven University, where researchers are working to find a cure for COVID-19.
According to Marlies Vanderbruggen from the University of Leuven, he has so far collected a little more than 6,000 euros and covered about a third of the distance in a marathon.
Leempoels recalls people who fell ill during the 1957-58 Asian flu pandemic, but who recovered much faster than those who had been affected by the novel corona virus in the past few months.
"As a doctor, you feel touched by it, so I was glad now that I could possibly do something to help fight the coronavirus," he said.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)