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The Strava Club

The Strava Club

1:16 PM on Thursday, July 25, 2019

Strava Art's Greatest Artist?

Lenny Maughan has been running San Francisco’s streets for 20 years, but over the last three years he’s used the city's streets as the canvas for Strava art. And he’s got pretty good at it!

His latest piece, the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo’s face, is an impressive run even without the Strava art. It took Lenny 6 hours, 8 minutes and 15 seconds, and he covered almost 29 miles (46.5 kilometers), with over 3,500ft of elevation gain (1090m).

“You can't really avoid hills in this city if you're inland. The hills were intense on this one but I run in San Francisco almost every other day year-round, so I've long acclimated. And these are not fast runs, they are not races; it's not about distance or speed. It's all about the shape!” says Lenny.

After seeing other athletes draw images on their run, he thought he’d give it a try. “As an avid runner and new Strava user, I wanted to make a unique, custom, planned shape of my own run. So as 'proof of concept' I sketched out the Vulcan salute - the hand gesture [from Star Trek] - on a paper map as Leonard Nimoy had recently died. The way Market Street offsets the streets on its side made the 'V' shape a good starting point. The rest of the hand easily came into shape. After seeing all this render after pressing finish I was happy - and hooked!"

How does Lenny decide what to draw next? “I just dream up shapes of things - completely random, widely recognizable, often kitschy things - to 'draw' using the city streets as my canvas. I sketch it out on a paper map with a highlighter. It goes through several iterations before I get it just right,” explains Lenny.

“Frida Kahlo is original, iconic, distinctive, and her image is increasingly being used artistically, so why not draw her this way? I'm also a fan of her art and fascinated by her life story.”

Give Lenny some kudos on his run: