An Amazing Running Event Has Been Going On for 72 Hours – And You Probably Never Heard of It

a group of people walking in a forest
Written by Charlie

Ever hear of a backyard ultra? If not, then it may surprise you that 22 runners have run for over 72 hours and 300 miles – and are still going!

Running races are nothing new – they have been going on for a loooooong time! Most people are familiar with 5k races or 10k races (3.1 miles and 6.2 miles respectively) and distances like the marathon (26.2 miles). But, there is a whole world of racing that goes beyond the 26.2 mile distance and those are called ultra marathons. Here is a race going on right now that highlights some extreme ultra running.

Big’s Backyard Ultra

A backyard ultra is an event that has “yards” or laps that are 4.1667 miles long. The idea is that every runner starts at the top of each hour to run that distance until there is only one runner left to complete a lap and that is the winner.

While the pace isn’t bad, less than 15 minutes per mile, you have to start at the top of the hour to continue. This means that if you run the lap in like 45 minutes, you have 15 minutes to eat, rest, change clothes, go to the bathroom – whatever needs to be done. If you don’t start out again at the top of the hour, you are done.

Check out this video of the runners starting out on loop 73/hour 73. Check out Harvey Lewis racing off the start – after 72 hours and 300 miles of running!

The Backyard Ultra World Championships is going on now in Bell Buckle, TN. And here is the amazing part – this race started at 7AM on Saturday, October 21. That’s right, this has been going for over 73 hours and there are still 22 runners out there! They have covered over 300 miles now.

To get an idea of this, give it a try yourself sometime. Head out for 4.1667 miles and then start again at the top of the hour. Just see how that feels after 2 or 3 of those! In fact, you don’t have to try it on your own. There are backyard ultras that take place all over the country and even world. This one is special because it is the best of the best.

If you want to track it all, here is the page with the results and all the data from the race.

Let’s see when this race will actually end! 🙂 It certainly makes my upcoming 100 mile race look like not much at all!

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.