By now, most of you already know that this coming May, Ariane Wilhem will be running across the Island of Bali in one night, covering a distance of 84 kilometres. But have you ever stopped to think about what that actually represents? The runners amongst you probably have a pretty good idea, since you can compare it to distances you’ve covered, but for the rest of us, the best way to describe a race of such a length is simply: “too long”. So, this week I’d like to try and put things into perspective by looking at Ariane’s upcoming athletic feat in several different ways.

84000 METERS

Imagine running a marathon and realizing you forgot your keys at the start just as you cross the finish line. If you were to go back and get them, you’d have run the length of the Bali Hope Ultra, but again that’ll only speak to the runners.

As the crow flies, travelling 84 kilometres from Neuchâtel would get you to Basel, Besançon or Nyon… To get to the Paleo Festival on time you’ll have to bring some flippers though, since a straight line will take you through Lake Neuchâtel and Lake Geneva.

If you get your ten thousand steps a day in, it’ll take you roughly a week and a half to cover the distance, which is the equivalent of 509091 average Toblerone bars lined up or 19 Matterhorns lying next to each other. I know Ariane likes her chocolate, but I’m pretty sure that’s not how she measures her races.


I obviously don’t know how long it will take Ariane to finish the race (otherwise I would have placed a bigger bet during the fundraising dinner), but it’s safe to say it will be over ten hours. Basically that’s like a full day’s work, including lunch and the commute… Except Ariane won’t be spending most of it sitting at the office looking at Facebook. If you’re not at work, in 10 hours you could watch 30 episodes of the Big Bang Theory or almost get to the end of the director’s cut of the Lord of the Ringstrilogy.

You could also listen to Despacito 128 times, but I don’t know why you’d want to.


Sitting on the couch all day watching Netflix however, won’t burn quite as much energy as running two marathons in a row. If my calculations are correct, Ariane will be down about 6000 calories by the end of the race, the equivalent of 35 Toblerones or about 150 carrots. You’d have to watch 200 episodes of your favorite sitcom to burn that off without moving or hit more than half a million keys on a laptop. In other words, I’ve covered about 75 meters since the beginning of this article. The least one can say is that running 84 kilometres doesn’t sound easy. I’m glad I’ll be sitting in a bus eating Toblerone.

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