A BROMSGROVE man has spoken of lockdown life in Spain’s coronavirus capital – and how it has inspired him to run a madcap Madrid marathon in his own home to raise thousands for charity.

Jean-Marc Knoll, who grew up on Aston Fields but moved to Madrid three years ago, is one of millions of Spanish citizens who have been in lockdown for weeks, not even allowed out to exercise.

Determined to do something positive while stuck indoors, the 45-year-old keen runner devised the self-explanatory Window 2 Washing Machine Marathon.

On Saturday (April 4), he ran the distance – 9.65m – between his window and washing machine 4,373 times to complete the length of a full marathon, just over 42 kilometres.

Read more: Artrix forced to close for good by coronavirus outbreak

Describing it, tongue-in-cheek, as the ‘international sporting event they could not cancel’, Jean-Marc streamed the marathon live on Facebook and completed it in just over five hours.

His efforts have raised more than £3,350 and counting for charity, with the monies to be spilt equally between NHS Charities Together and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Thousands of people tuned in to watch Jean-Marc complete the challenge and his live stream received 1,200 comments on Facebook alone.

“The response and commentary as I was running was so amazing,” admitted former Bromsgrove School student Jean-Marc, who is the head of international sales for an interior design company.

“I only realised the day before the race that living alone meant I would have to commentate for five hours as well as run!

“I thought it would be easier than a "real" marathon because I wouldn't be running as fast, but it was as hard: 26.2 miles is definitely 26.2 miles wherever you run it!”

Read more: Hospital praised as Bromsgrove twins born ten weeks prematurely during coronavirus pandemic

Jean-Marc enjoyed a somewhat unorthodox food and drink intake during the marathon – and also received an unexpected source of aid from his friends back in the UK.

“I ate jámon (Spanish dry-cured ham), cheese and drank red wine,” the Aston Villa fan laughed.

“My friends in the UK arranged a delivery of more jámon and beer during the race when they heard me say that I had run out, which was incredible!

“I usually run a marathon in 3.20-3.30hrs, and thought I would complete this in 4hrs 30mins, but it took a little longer than expected.

“Maybe the jamón and wine stops took a little longer than they should have!”

Spain has the second highest coronavirus death toll in the world, its total of more than 13,000 fatalities behind only Italy, while there have been more than 135,000 confirmed cases nationwide.

But there are signs that the lockdown introduced almost a month ago is slowing the spread, with the number of new deaths falling each day since the weekend.

Jean-Marc, whose mum Sue still lives in Aston Fields, admits the outbreak has been harrowing but he has been astounded by the community spirit and togetherness it has produced.

“It has been both terrible and great,” he related. “Terrible from the number of deaths, the highest of any city in the world, worse than Wuhan.

“I have left my house just three times, to go shopping, in the last 22 days.

“But the people are strong, the Spanish understand what needs to be done, everyone is pulling together. The national round of applause EVERY night for the health workers is a source of pride.

“People clap on balconies every night, and then sing a song and chat. The spirit is amazing even if the reality is brutal.”