Turkey Run To Pigeon Post: The Less Celebrated Sporting Stories Of 2020

A look at some sporting stories you may have missed...

Turkey Run To Pigeon Post: The Less Celebrated Sporting Stories Of 2020

Molly Seidel became the Fastest Known Turkey (impersonator) over 10 kilometres.

The coronavirus pandemic played havoc with the sporting calendar in 2020 but it did not halt it and in some cases it inspired athletes from all corners of the world to face their sporting mountains with creativity.

Here we look at some of those sporting stories you may have missed.

- Turkey run -

American marathon runner Molly Seidel set herself some major goals in 2020: qualifying for the Tokyo Olympics and becoming the Fastest Known Turkey (impersonator) over 10 kilometres.

She achieved the first by coming second in the US trials in February, posting a time of 2hrs 27 mins 31secs.

On Thanksgiving morning, she completed the double-whammy by clocking 34mins 33secs in a 10km race on Cranberry Island, Maine while dressed as a turkey, wings and all.

- Pigeon post -

Another story on an avian note that may have flown under the radar concerned a Belgian homing pigeon called New Kim.

The well-bred two-year-old, from a renowned Antwerp loft, was put up for auction in November at just 200 euros.

She had won the 2018 crown as "Ace Pigeon Grand National Middle Distance" in competitions held at Chateauroux and Argenton-sur-Creuse in France so she was no mug.

But no one expected her to sell for a record 1.6 million euros ($1.9 million) to a Chinese buyer.

The sale beat the 1.25 million euros paid for male pigeon Armando last year, according to online auctioneers Pigeon Paradise (PIPA).

- Virtual runners -

With most big city marathons either cancelled or restricted to the elite pounding the streets, runners had to find new ways to clock those miles. Many did it in the privacy of their own home.

Elisha Nochomovitz spent 6 hours and 48 minutes running the 42.2 kilometres (26.2 miles), marathon distance, around the 7-meter balcony of his apartment in Toulouse while South African couple Collin and Hilda Allin covered the distance by running more than 2,100 laps of their 20-metre long balcony in Dubai.

Chinese runner Pan Shancu went further, literally, running 66km in a loop at home in six hours, 41 minutes. A video of him repeatedly circling furniture in his apartment went viral in China.

"I felt a little dizzy at first, but you get used to it after you circle many times," the 44-year-old told AFP.

- Ski safe -

Not everyone wants to run. When Philipp Klein Herrero had to cancel a skiing holiday because of the virus he recreated the winter sport experience in confinement in his Barcelona flat.

The result was a 57-second video called "Freeride at home" shot from a camera attached to the ceiling.

"I had a spark of creativity," the 28-year-old video maker and amateur skier told AFP.

"I've seen a lot of funny videos of people doing outdoor sports at home. So I wanted to do the same."

In the video, edited in stop-motion, Herrero wakes on the floor in a sleeping bag in full gear. Shot from above to make it seem that he is standing when he is, in fact, lying on the floor, he climbs a show-capped peak made of white sheets and then skis down.

He finishes with a crash, going helmet first into the sheets, as the message "Stay safe, stay at home" appears.

The video went viral, clocking over 750,000 views on YouTube.

- Heavenly bodies -

In response to coronavirus restrictions that saw fitness centres in Poland closed down, one gym in Krakow enjoyed divine inspiration but calling itself a church.

"Because fitness classes aren't allowed... we're offering religious gatherings for members of the Church of the Healthy Body," announced the Atlantic Sports club.

- Gunnersaurus resurrectus -

Football breathed a sigh of relief in November when Arsenal rescinded their decision to 'let go' their club mascot Gunnersaurus.

Jerry Quy, the man who for 27 years had thrown off the shackles of self-respect by dressing up each week as the dainty dinosaur, was made redundant in the wake of the coronavirus, only for out-of-favour midfielder Mesut Ozil to curry favour by offering to pay his wages.

Ultimately, sense prevailed and Gunnersaurus was recalled to the touchline -- although mystery remains about who is now inside the suit.

- Reynolds' Wrexham -

It is not often that the glamour of Hollywood reaches the shores of north Wales or that a team in the fifth tier of English football finds itself sprinkled with a little stardust.

But that is what happened to Wrexham, a club formed in 1864, when fans approved the sale of the club to Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.

The takeover could see an investment of up to £2 million in the club, with the possibility of a documentary film on life at the Racecourse Ground as well.

"This is the third-oldest club on the planet and we don't see why it can't have a global appeal," said Canadian actor Reynolds, the star of the 'Deadpool' franchise. "We want Wrexham to be a global force."

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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