'Covid hero': 103-year-old Belgian walks marathon to fund coronavirus research

'Covid hero': 103-year-old Belgian walks marathon to fund coronavirus research
Illustration picture. Credit: Stock image/Pixabay

A 103-year-old doctor in Belgium is aiming to complete a marathon by walking daily laps around his garden to raise funds for Covid-19 research.

Reportedly the oldest general practitioner in the country, Alfons Leempoels completes ten daily laps around the garden of his home in Rotselaar, some 30 km east of Brussels.

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The retired doctor began his journey on 1 June and has already notched up about a third of the 24.2 km of a marathon, which he aims to complete by the end of the month.

Leempoel said he was inspired by British centenarian Tom Moore, who raised around €35 million for public health services by walking around his garden with a walking frame.

"My children said that I can walk at least as well as Tom Moore and on top of that I am 103 years old," he told Reuters.

Leempoel, who worked through the 1957 Asian-flu pandemic has already raised some €6,000 for researchers at KU Leuven University, carrying out research for a cure to Covid-19.

The university created a donation page for those wanting to support the 103-year-old, hailed as a "Covid hero" by general practitioners.

"As a doctor, you feel touched by this and that's why I was happy now that I might be able to contribute something to fight the coronavirus,” Leempoel said.

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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