Boston Marathon

This Boston Marathon runner creates art with his feet

Jeric Yuen, of London, has been making digital line art through GPS runs since 2019.

Jeric Yuen on a run. Courtesy of Jeric Yuen

Athletes come from across the globe to race in the Boston Marathon, the oldest marathon in the United States. And one athlete from London made an artistic announcement on Instagram Monday that he’d be joining the 127th edition of the race.

To publicize his coming to Boston, Jeric Yuen — aka @coderunnerguyposted a drawing of a unicorn that he made with his feet. It sounds impractical, but he uses technology to map out his runs in advance and create line art based on the path he will take.

At the end of the run, his trail paints a picture. He’s been doing these runs since 2019 and has created a chicken, fish, dogs, and more.

A chicken drawing by Jeric Yuen.

He told in a phone call that he stumbled on the idea by accident while on Christmas vacation in Scotland. He said he’d gone for a run, and when he came back, he saw something in the route he took. 


“It looked like a human face, so I thought maybe I should find another park and then I found another one which was nearby that looked like a T-Rex,” he said.

From there, an idea to start creating intentional art blossomed. 

“I had this idea that maybe once I’m back in London I should try to see where I can find any other animals or something else to draw,” he said. “It grows from there.”

The unicorn, which Yuen used for his Instagram post, is the symbol for Boston’s legendary race.

He wrote in the post that he had been “dreaming about the unicorn” for years. 

“I’ve been keeping this secret for some time now,” he added. “The other good news is, one week from now, I will have this opportunity to fulfill my dream.”

His GPS unicorn was made from an 18K run he did in London. After he runs the Boston Marathon, Yuen is also scheduled to run the London Marathon on April 23. 

In addition to doing the runs, Yuen also fundraises for Spinal Research, a UK-based charity that researches spinal injuries and treatments. As of April 11, he was 100 euros away from reaching the 1,900-euro fundraising goal the group had set for him.


Yuen said he wanted to give to this organization because he suffered an injury in 2018 that left him temporarily unable to run, and he wants to now help paralyzed people “live an active life again” as a result.

Sharing the run

While Yuen said he does these runs by himself, he will also sometimes host group runs for people to join and optionally donate to his charitable cause. On these runs, he won’t tell the group what they are setting out to run.

“When you finish the run, and then you get to sync it back to your phone, that’s when people find out what they’ve drawn,” he said. “It’s a surprise.”

The work to make the runs is all done behind the scenes. He said he uses a free tool called Plot A Route, which is similar to Google Maps, to create the drawing. 

“There’s a lot of zooming in and out on Google Maps just to see whether the road is there,” he said. “A lot of imagination behind the scenes that people don’t get to see.”

A tiger drawing by Jeric Yuen. – Courtesy of Jeric Yuen

Once he has the route made, he’ll make a GPS file to share. He said a short run will usually take him one to two hours to map out, but a long run takes a lot longer. 


Creating the unicorn run for his Boston Marathon announcement took around four hours, he said, and he had multiple versions. The biggest run he’s plotted was a 50-kilometer – or over 31 miles – and he drew a tiger. 

Yuen has challenged himself to do more than 55 GPS art drawings this year. He has successfully completed 53 so far, according to his fundraising page.

He flies in on Thursday for the Boston Marathon, and Yuen said he’s “very excited” to race.  

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