While many were still lying in bed students to sublet their rooms, Unlease is helping students make back looking forward to May Day, Somerville student Tom Dillon ran 26.2 miles on a treadmill. Beginning at 10am on Saturday 30 April in the Somerville Gym, Tom finished shortly before 2pm, completing his first marathon in under four hours, which is a time widely considered to be the benchmark for a successful first attempt.
Running for more than pride, Tom also raised publicity for Unlease, a peer to peer platform allowing students to sublet their rooms more easily, by tearing up 26 fixed long-
term letting agreements along the 26 miles.
Unlease co-founder Mags Chilaev commented, “Tom Dillon set himself the challenge of completing a marathon in under four hours to highlight the plight of students who are stuck in rigid 12-month contracts and who waste thousands of pounds in rent each year.
“He was unlease-ing, so to speak, his potential in the same way that Unlease Hosts unlease their rooms’ potential by subletting, instead of instead of letting those rooms stand idle each holiday.” Chilaev explained, “As a result of recent changes in legislation which make it a lot easier for thousands in rent which they would otherwise be wasting on an empty room.
“The marathon idea started as we were sat having coffee, and Tom, in his delusional mindset, claimed he could run one easily with no training.”
Jack Cottom, Tom’s friend
“The average student in Oxford wastes about £2,500 in rent each year when their room is empty during non-term time every Christmas, Easter and summer holidays – that’s almost half of the yearly rent. While their rooms are standing empty, there are a tonne of other students in need of medium-term accommodation either because they are visiting Oxford for a research project or simply getting kicked out of their college rooms. Unlease matches up people looking for medium-term accommodation with students who need to sublet and in doing so utilises all that empty accommodation, in a city which has one of the worst housing crises in the country.”
Tom’s friend Jack Cottam told Cherwell how the endeavour came about. “The marathon idea started as we were sat having coffee, and Tom, in his delusional mindset, claimed he could run one easily with no training. The challenge was taken up, and wagers were placed between the two of us. “Cut to two weeks later and the marathon had spread via small talk, to the point where there was no going back. The Facebook event was made and interest was decent.”
Initially, Jack was doubtful about Tom’s chances, “Tom’s previous training had consisted of two runs – the longest being 15 miles, after which he couldn’t walk for a day. So, when the day came, and Tom was eating his athlete’s breakfast of porridge just 20 minutes before the ‘race’ began, I was sceptical. [Bearing in mind I never wanted him to succeed, his lack of stretching beforehand reassured my belief that Tom would injure himself – or worse – after an hour. But Tom’s persistence became clear, and where he lacked in ability he compensated for with financial incentive, and pro-digious peer pressure.]
“The last half hour was intense, as Tom was visibly weakening (so it seemed) and his legs were getting heavier – he had been relatively comfortable before then. But, as the gym started to busy with spectators, the peer-pressure (and financial reward) forced Tom to complete the run.” Jack grudgingly conceded,“Although I lost a fair bit of money I can see he’s done alright. He’s still not an athlete though.”
Tom agreed with Jack’s assessment, “Whilst I think I was more dignified than Paula Radcliffe, he’s probably right that I am far from being an athlete”. Unfortunately after enduring the marathon, Tom was unable to endure to May Day. “I went to the pub after the race and was written off by two pints because I think the blood was pumping so hard – after disgracing myself, I collapsed in bed”. However, the experience hasn’t deterred Tom, as he told Cherwell, “I might do the London Marathon next year, or at least run outside”.