A national lockdown and state of emergency didn't stop Pukekohe man Ryan Hattle from running more than a marathon distance around his own house.

The 33-year-old even did part of it with a toddler on his back - lapping his property over and over again until he completed 50km last Thursday.

Hattle was due to run a long distance event in the South Island but it was cancelled as a result of the spreading Covid-19 pandemic.

Ryan Hattle and his son Denver during his 50km run at his Pukekohe home yesterday. Photo / supplied
Ryan Hattle and his son Denver during his 50km run at his Pukekohe home yesterday. Photo / supplied

He was disappointed because he'd not finished the race last year and was desperate to achieve his goal this time around.


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Instead of moping - he set himself a home challenge to smash instead.

So after the lockdown started, friends sent him a video of a man in France who ran the distance of a marathon on his balcony.

Hattle thought he'd have a crack at something similar.

"I just enjoy a challenge and pushing myself and I decided I'd give it a go," he said.

He set up a route encompassing his property and the berm outside, each lap spanning 100m.

The 50km run. Photo / supplied
The 50km run. Photo / supplied

Drinks and snacks were at the front gate, which served as the start and finish point.

Hattle tracked the distance on his phone's GPS.

"It took seven hours," he said.


"It was pretty tough, doing the exact same route over and over and no changes, no hills, no different things was a bit hard on some of the muscles.

"I was pretty ready to crack at the 42km mark but I pushed through."

For some laps Hattle piggy-backed his 2-year-old son Denver.

"He would wave out every time I came around past the window," he said.

"He was on my back for a few laps.

"I was pretty happy to finish, pretty sore, and I'm pretty sore today.

"Today I'm just recovering."

Hattle said he had a few ideas of how to keep occupied during the remaining lockdown period, but first he would rest and let his body bounce back from the 50km.

"A few people have sent pics of 24-hour running challenges, but I don't know," he said.

"I'll just see how I feel."

Hattle said it was important people put the lockdown into perspective.

"Yeah, it's a tough time we're going through but it's not really that big of a problem when you compare it to problems other people have in the world," he said.

From race heartache to real challenge

In a post on Facebook, Hattle further explained his run and the motivation behind it.

"Hopefully this offers a bit of inspiration through these tough times," he said.

"Going back a year and a half, when I was pretty new to trail running, I decided to sign up for the Northburn 100 mile. I don't know why, but my thinking was if I'm going to run 100 miles I might as well pick the one with the most hills.

"I spent the next six months running around in the bush when I had a chance with my buddy.

"Race day came and because of many things, lack of experience, nutrition, no poles, mental stamina, lack of sleep etc, I made it to about 81km before calling it quits."

He said knowing he had chosen to quit "sucked" and he questioned whether he could have just pushed through and finished.

"It only took a couple days of race recovery before I had told myself I had to come back and complete it and get that buckle," he wrote.

"It's weird how your brain works, you know how tough it is, yet you want to put yourself in that situation again.

"Over the next year I continued my training in preparation to run the race again.

"Three weeks out from race day I was ready to go, I didn't want to have to wait three weeks.

"Then this Covid-19 situation began to unfold."

The night before Hattle was due to travel to the South Island the event was called off.

"I was overcome by this sinking feeling. I was gutted.

"My chance to complete what I had started was gone. Preparing for another year physically and mentally sounded daunting.

"As I told others and thought about it more, I started to change how I was feeling.

"I started to see myself as being a bit selfish as I realised, so many others had, all sorts of events cancelled too.

"Everyone was missing out."

Hattle put things in perspective and realised his run being cancelled was a "minor inconvenience" in the grand scheme of the world.

Schools and non-essential services across New Zealand will be closed for the next four weeks after the Government put the country in lockdown to try to stop the spread of coronavirus.

"I am so fortunate that I have the life I do and can do the things I do," he said.

"Now entering this time of uncertainty around the virus and lock down, I realise how much I do have.

"I have food and clean water, I have shelter, I have security, I am healthy, I can go for a run. I have love, I have family and friends.

"I have the ability to make goals and also accomplish those goals."

One of those goals was his 50km.

"Yes, 100 miles crossed my mind, but that just seemed ridiculous," he said.

"I achieved that goal.

"Some of the problems you face may seem so big when you are faced with them, but if you take a step back and look around some problems aren't as big as you initially thought.

"Take care over the coming weeks - maybe achieve some of those goals you have floating around in your head."

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website