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Runner Lenny Maughan brings art, athletics together

If you’re a part of the running community, then you’ve probably heard of Strava. Strava is a GPS tracker app that can map where you run, your distance traveled and your pace. Lenny Maughan, a marathon runner, uses Strava to create intricate designs through his runs.

Maughan started running around eight years ago and first used Strava to record data about his runs. He noticed how easy it was to use and how the GPS tracking could accurately illustrate his runs. 

“I started to notice that my runs would look more like a loop. I thought, ‘Why don’t I design something beforehand, run it and make it look like what I want it to look like rather than interpreting a vague shape as something?’ It’s fun and a creative challenge. I just kept doing it and getting more detailed,” Maughan said. 

Maughan’s process of mapping out his runs takes a lot of time and attention to detail. He isn’t able to do it easily without using additional resources and needs to be able to map out his runs in advance so he doesn’t take a wrong turn. 

Maughan’s completed run of Bigfoot took nine hours and 50 minutes. (Photo courtesy of Lenny Maughan)

“I sketch my route out. I can’t really do [my art] freehand, but if I do it in advance, I can plan out what routes I want to take. I take a paper map and a highlighter and I’ll think of a shape and outline it on the map. I have to think about where the streets are and where the trails are. It creates a challenge to draw something where I can only go where I can go.  It’s like a puzzle,” said Maughan. 

Marley Nacco, a junior on the cross country team, uses Strava to track her runs and also creates Strava art. 

“I do [Strava art] in the moment because the only times I use it is when I’m running on the field or track, which isn’t really pre-planned. It’s such a great way to get into running since it’s a lot more interesting and helps keep people more motivated,” said Nacco.

Another junior cross country runner, Courtney Kunz, has also used Strava art in the same way as Nacco.

“I’ve used it when going on small runs or shakeouts. I’ll run around to make certain shapes or write out certain words like my name,” Kunz said. 

Connecting with thousands of runners, Maughan posts to his Strava profile.

There have been over 3,000 pieces of art on the Strava site and more pieces are being added every week. Strava art is gaining traction, with so many users it’s becoming a great tool to make running fun. A few of Maughans most spectacular runs include a tiger, the Loch Ness monster and a pretzel. Maughan’s audience connects with the Bay Area and San Francisco since many know the area where he runs. His Instagram audience has been continuously gaining traction through articles and through Strava itself. Many of his designs have significance that are relevant and meaningful to the local community, and are also inspiring to new runners and those who want to put a new twist on their running. 

“I initially thought I would share this with my running buddies to get a laugh or a smile out of it. But I’ve noticed that other people started noticing my runs and telling me that they were fun and inspiring,” Maughan said. 

Nacco is a follower of Maughan and is one such runner that is inspired by him. She recognizes the inspiration that he is bringing to runners and notices how he is making his designs bigger than running.

“I’ve noticed that he runs half marathons and 12 miles while making intricate designs with amazing detail. I would definitely love to do what he’s doing and just go out and run 12 miles while making art,” Nacco said.


Scan this to check out more of Maughan’s designs on his instagram
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About the Contributor
Molly Gallagher
Molly Gallagher, Lifestyles Editor
Molly Gallagher is a junior at Redwood High School and a lifestyles editor for the Redwood Bark. She enjoys playing sports, traveling, and hanging out with family and friends.