It’s street art! San Francisco runner creates drawings using GPS tracker on Strava

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A fitness enthusiast is taking the internet by storm using GPS and mapping software to create ‘running art’ – forming images of Batman and the artist Frida Kahlo.

Lenny Maughan, from San Francisco, California has been turning his running routes into art for around four years now using the Strava app. 

He carefully plans out routes through the city, which are then mapped out on the app as he runs distances of as much as 46 kilometres (28.9 miles).

When the run is finished, he can zoom out – as can his followers – and see images including a pig, a hand and chopsticks all visible from his route. 

Lenny Maughan, from San Francisco, California has been turning his running routes into art for around four years now using the Strava app. One of his latest was of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (pictured) known for her self-portraits

Lenny Maughan, from San Francisco, California has been turning his running routes into art for around four years now using the Strava app. One of his latest was of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (pictured) known for her self-portraits

Lenny Maughan, from San Francisco, California has been turning his running routes into art for around four years now using the Strava app. One of his latest was of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (pictured) known for her self-portraits

He carefully plans out routes through the city (pictured, the Batman logo), which are then mapped out on the app as he runs distances of as much as 46 kilometres (28.9 miles)

He carefully plans out routes through the city (pictured, the Batman logo), which are then mapped out on the app as he runs distances of as much as 46 kilometres (28.9 miles)

He carefully plans out routes through the city (pictured, the Batman logo), which are then mapped out on the app as he runs distances of as much as 46 kilometres (28.9 miles)

When the run is finished, Mr Maughan can zoom out - as can his followers - and see images including a pig (pictured), a hand and chopsticks all visible from his route

When the run is finished, Mr Maughan can zoom out - as can his followers - and see images including a pig (pictured), a hand and chopsticks all visible from his route

 When the run is finished, Mr Maughan can zoom out – as can his followers – and see images including a pig (pictured), a hand and chopsticks all visible from his route

Planning his routes is a fairly analogue process, with Mr Maughan printing out a paper map and highlighting a route to follow (pictured, one of his runs)

Planning his routes is a fairly analogue process, with Mr Maughan printing out a paper map and highlighting a route to follow (pictured, one of his runs)

Planning his routes is a fairly analogue process, with Mr Maughan printing out a paper map and highlighting a route to follow (pictured, one of his runs)

Mr Maughan created a rose on one of his runs through San Francisco

Mr Maughan created a rose on one of his runs through San Francisco

Mr Maughan created a rose on one of his runs through San Francisco 

Another of the images he has created while running includes some chopsticks

Another of the images he has created while running includes some chopsticks

Another of the images he has created while running includes some chopsticks

Mr Maughan (pictured) has been living in San Francisco for more than 20 years, and likes to ensure his images have a connection to the area

Mr Maughan (pictured) has been living in San Francisco for more than 20 years, and likes to ensure his images have a connection to the area

Mr Maughan (pictured) has been living in San Francisco for more than 20 years, and likes to ensure his images have a connection to the area

His latest image, of the artist Frida Kahlo – a Mexican painter known for her many self-portraits – has garnered significant attention on Reddit. 

It has received some 2,000 up-votes, with dozens commenting on the remarkable image.

One said: ‘Beautiful, but my calves/knees/bones hurt just thinking about running that.’

While another said: ‘Out of all the running artists I have seen, [this] is the best.’

And another commented: ‘Running art?! I can’t even run for fun lol. This is so cool and very original.’ 

Mr Maughan has made 53 works so far, including the Starship Enterprise from Star Trek. 

His first was another nod to Star Trek, an image of a Vulcan hand gesture, inspired by the 2015 death of Leonard Nimoy who played Spock. 

Planning his routes is a fairly analogue process, with Mr Maughan printing out a paper map and highlighting a route to follow. 

He has to be very careful to follow the route, because if he makes a wrong turn the piece could be ruined.  

In reference to his own passion for running, Mr Maughan mapped out one of his routes to create an image of a runner

In reference to his own passion for running, Mr Maughan mapped out one of his routes to create an image of a runner

In reference to his own passion for running, Mr Maughan mapped out one of his routes to create an image of a runner 

Another of his images was that of a seagull, making reference to the large number of the birds in the city

Another of his images was that of a seagull, making reference to the large number of the birds in the city

Another of his images was that of a seagull, making reference to the large number of the birds in the city

A simpler image was that of a foot. He has also created images of other body parts including a hand

A simpler image was that of a foot. He has also created images of other body parts including a hand

A simpler image was that of a foot. He has also created images of other body parts including a hand

On St. Patrick's Day he created an image of a four-leaf clover, running a route around the north-east part of the city

On St. Patrick's Day he created an image of a four-leaf clover, running a route around the north-east part of the city

On St. Patrick’s Day he created an image of a four-leaf clover, running a route around the north-east part of the city

Another of his images is that of a taco (pictured). Mr Maughan had been a fan of art as a young child and was a particular fan of Etch-a-Sketch, which also requires images to be created in an unbroken line

Another of his images is that of a taco (pictured). Mr Maughan had been a fan of art as a young child and was a particular fan of Etch-a-Sketch, which also requires images to be created in an unbroken line

Another of his images is that of a taco (pictured). Mr Maughan had been a fan of art as a young child and was a particular fan of Etch-a-Sketch, which also requires images to be created in an unbroken line

Mr Maughan has to be very careful to follow his routes, because if he makes a wrong turn the piece could be ruined

Mr Maughan has to be very careful to follow his routes, because if he makes a wrong turn the piece could be ruined

Mr Maughan has to be very careful to follow his routes, because if he makes a wrong turn the piece could be ruined

In another of his images, Mr Maughan made the image of a fist (pictured)

In another of his images, Mr Maughan made the image of a fist (pictured)

In another of his images, Mr Maughan made the image of a fist (pictured)

Having seen joke images including penises on the apps, Mr Maughan said: 'I wanted to do something different and something original'

Having seen joke images including penises on the apps, Mr Maughan said: 'I wanted to do something different and something original'

Having seen joke images including penises on the apps, Mr Maughan said: ‘I wanted to do something different and something original’

Speaking to The Guardian, he said he never set out to be a running artist but as running apps became more popular started to notice images in routes.

Having seen joke images including penises on the apps, he said: ‘I wanted to do something different and something original.’ 

Mr Maughan had been a fan of art as a young child and was a particular fan of Etch-a-Sketch, which also requires images to be created in an unbroken line.   

‘You can’t see the lines drawn until after you finish your run, so it’s such a joyful feeling when you put in all of that work and you finally finish and get to see what you envisioned at the end,’ he told the San Francisco Chronicle.

Mr Maughan has been living in San Francisco for more than 20 years, and likes to ensure his images have a connection to the area. One includes a firefighter’s helmet and axe, to those serving in wildfires.