Lockdown vegans take on big challenges

While millions of people are on lockdown, vegan athletes are finding inventive and resourceful ways to train. Three have turned their training into challenges to inspire others and raise some funds for good causes.

6 April 2020

Matthew LeBlanc has run a 3:04:48 marathon and won the 24 hour White Lake Ultra.

“I have been running as a serious hobby for eight years, and vegan for nine. It helps me manage the stresses of [my job] teaching, and keeps me healthy” he told Great Vegan Athletes.

He was planning to return to White Lake when he was faced with lockdown, so turned his attention to another challenge.

After measuring a 222 foot (68 metre) course around his backyard, he planned to run a marathon, which would take him 623 laps. He aimed to connect to the students he teaches and inspire others to cope positively with the virus.

“My sides were sore from running so many laps in the same direction and taking all those turns. And my legs hurt but it’s not too bad.”

He also raised $2200 for a food bank, which you can support here.


While Matthew was running circles, John Griffin was running upwards. John aimed to climb the equivalent of Everest using the stairs in his home.

Covering the 8,850 vertical metres took four days, ending April 3rd. “Each ascent of my stairs is 6.5m in 30 steps, so the challenge will require 1361 ascents or 40,846 steps up” he says.

John was also aiming to help a foodbank, and passed £1500 in his fundraising efforts, which you can support here.

Laps for Tower Hills Stables

Jhon Cosgrove supported an organisation Great Vegan Athletes has heard plenty about – Tower Hills Stables, the sanctuary run by elite vegan runner and multiple world record holder Fiona Oakes.

Like Matthew, Jhon was training for more conventional races and has had to adapt – now planning to run laps of his garden to complete a marathon. 437 laps at 0.06 miles (96 metres).

“I’ve decided to use my fitness to run a marathon round my garden on Easter Sunday” he says. “This is because a) I like a challenge b) to try and promote the whole staying at home thing c) to raise money for Tower Hill Stables and The Fountain Centre.”

You can support Jhon here, and he’s also inviting people to run in their gardens on Sunday.

These three athletes have all proved that we can all exercise despite the restrictions, and make some good out of these strange days. Great work vegans!

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