Teens beat boredom by walking a marathon in pouring rain

Friends Lucy Kinge and Sienna Jones pictured before their nine-hour odyssey around Dereham.

Friends Lucy Kinge and Sienna Jones pictured before their nine-hour odyssey around Dereham. - Credit: Submitted

A pair of teenagers were determined to make their government-permitted exercise count, when they clocked in an extraordinary 26 miles on an all-day stroll through pouring rain - for no other reason than to set themselves a challenge.

Lucy Kinge, 14, and friend Sienna Jones, 13, had told their parents they planned to walk the standard marathon length of 26.2 miles around Dereham on February 6 to beat the boredom of lockdown. 

Kate Kinge, mother of Lucy, said that the pair seemed “desperate to do it” but didn’t appear to have given the practicalities of such a long walk much thought - so she didn’t take much notice of it at first. 

“I thought ‘Yeah, right, OK then’, but they were insistent on doing it. There was nothing stopping them,” said Ms Kinge.

Screenshot of the girls' journey

An Apple Maps screenshot of the girls' nine-hour journey around Dereham and its surrounding villages. - Credit: Submitted

The teens’ nine-hour odyssey around Dereham took them to far-flung corners of the town and its nearby villages, apparently without rhyme or reason. 

“They started off in Toftwood and went through to Old Scarning," said Ms Kinge.

"Then they went through Dereham town centre... up to the golf club, before coming back down and walking back towards the Neatherd."

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Ms Kinge said she proposed giving the girls a change of clothes at Dereham’s Morrisons supermarket, as they were soaked through, but they said they didn’t want to be met until they’d completed at least half of the distance. 

“It was chucking down, and actually by the time they’d got there, they were about 13 miles in,” said Ms Kinge. 

Lucy and Sienna at the end of their walk

Lucy Kinge and Sienna Jones had finished their 26.2 miles by about 5.30pm. - Credit: Submitted

The friends then headed south through Westfield, Yaxham and Clint Green, where the Kinges live. 

“They came past us and then looped back into Dereham,” Ms Kinge added.

“They hadn’t really considered food or footwear or anything like that - they were just going and that was it,” she said, adding that she did not think they would have done it without coronavirus, as they knew they would have sore feet for days.

The teens kept track of their mileage with an Apple Watch and the MapMyRun app, and were congratulated by many of their teachers at Dereham Neatherd High School during virtual lessons.