On Wednesday May 16th, Canberra resident Ron Ginnivan became the world's first person to complete a half marathon, whilst floating around in a hot air balloon. The impossible sounding stunt was achieved with the help of a generator-powered treadmill that was placed inside the passenger basket.
The 13-mile run that took the 47-year old, 2 hours and 18 minutes or about twice as long as it would have taken on land, was the culmination of Mr. Ginnivan's Run for Your Heart campaign, a three-pronged quest to run on land, sea and air to raise $100,000 USD for the Heart Foundation.
The veteran runner who has over 18 marathons under his belt, had already completed a land marathon in Morocco and a 'sea' marathon by running 26.2 miles on a treadmill aboard a cruise ship. The idea do one in air was inspired by a hot air balloon trip he took with his wife about a year ago, on May 27th, 2011.
Though this was the shortest of the three, it was by no means the easiest. Thanks to a tilt in the balloon, he felt as though he was climbing uphill during the entire six miles. Added to that was the swaying motion of the basket, which made the experience a little like sailing in choppy waters. Despite that and a leg cramp that plagued him for the last two miles, Mr. Ginnivan persisted and was able to successfully complete this rather unusual run.
In addition to collecting funds for the Heart Foundation, a cause that is dear to him because he lost both his grandfathers to heart attacks, Mr. Ginnivan is also trying to inspire people to be more healthy and active.
Resources: huffingtonnpost.com,the canberratimes.com