Charity hot air balloon marathon is a first

Last week, Australian hot air balloon pilot Ewan Roberts had one of the most bizarre jobs of his life, when he took off early one morning from a field on the outskirts of Canberra.

On board was veteran marathon runner Rob Ginnivan, in his latest quest to encourage a healthy lifestyle and promote awareness of heart disease, while raising money for the Heart Foundation charity.

Mr. Ginnivan has already run 18 marathons on six continents and was looking for a new challenge, when the idea of running a half marathon on land, on sea and in the air came to him.

Morocco was the venue for his charity land marathon and he completed the sea leg of the challenge on board ship. The air part of the fund-raising challenge stumped him until he took a hot air balloon ride with his wife to celebrate their wedding anniversary, when he came up with his unusual idea.

A treadmill, powered by a small generator, was fitted into the basket of a hot air balloon and as soon as the balloon took off, Mr. Ginnivan began running.

Speaking on Australian television after he completed the feat, he described the difficulty of running in a hot air balloon, explaining that the tilt of the basket caused the effect of running up a never-ending hill, while the size of the treadmill meant he could not run with his usual stride.

On-board video captured the three hour hot air balloon ride over Canberra, which Mr. Ginnivan described as “fantastic”.

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