SA couple in Dubai do the balcony marathon

What would possess anyone to run on their 19m balcony more 2200 times to cover the distance of a standard marathon? Boredom and cabin fever perhaps in a time of lockdowns across the world? Maybe it’s for a greater purpose.

Credit: @collinallin

What would possess anyone to run along their 19m balcony more 2000 times and cover the distance of a standard marathon? Boredom and cabin fever perhaps in a time of lockdowns across the world? Maybe it’s a greater purpose, to uplift people’s spirits in a time of great distress.

Collin and Hilda Allin are hoping it’s the latter. The South African couple, living in Dubai where a lockdown has been in place for three weeks, are attempting a balcony marathon to distract people from a distressing period in human history.

“We were impacted quite badly. I work for Oakley which is owned by a Milan-based company, and our manufacturers are from China, so it’s pretty much the worst combination. Some of our staff are Italian and have family there,” Collin Allin said.

The coronavirus pandemic has crippled most countries around the world, claiming thousands of lives and sending cities into lockdown with residents prevented from leaving their homes.

Dubai has imposed a Thursday to Sunday night time lockdown to allow for outdoors and public transport sanitation operations. It has recorded more than 150 cases of coronavirus and two deaths. The Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, displayed a “stay at home” message with lights.

“Dubai has been amazing with how they’ve reacted to things. The police are using drones to sanitise the streets. This is our third week at home. We were one of the first countries to close schools. We’ve got two weeks of complete lockdown now. So Emirates have grounded all flights, borders are closed. We’re taking it very seriously,” Allin said.

For weeks videos and pictures have been shared by people finding creative ways to keep busy at home. The Allins are hoping their feat, which will take between 7 and 8 hours will entertain people across the world and bring them together at a crucial time.

The balcony marathon will be live-streamed on Zoom and Instagram @collinallin

The Allins are among millions of families around the world whose parents are having to work from home while caring for their kids at home. It’s a delicate balancing act that has tested parents across the world in the past few weeks.

“We all need to be creative and think outside of the box and put ourselves in the kids’ shoes. I read an article recently that said don’t force your kids into home schooling, don’t force them into doing things, because they’re also processing everything. They’re dealing,” Allin said. “Netflix is also God send!”

“I have a friend whose mom died in London, but he can’t get there. It’s a very trying and testing time for all of us. It’s weird because we all say, ‘I wish I had more time’, now we’re being given a lot of time. It’s a reflection period I think,” he said. “I read a quote this morning that said, ‘That thing that we want to rush back to. Are we sure that it’s something that we should be rushing back to?’”