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!
Harvey Lewis blasts into loop 73. The remaining, the 22 intrepid souls, head back to the trail. Lost during the night: Tobbe Gyllebring of Sweden, Kevin Sneyders of Belgium, Reyes Satevo of Mexico, Yukinori Yoshida of Japan and James Blanton, Australia. BIG’S #backyardultra pic.twitter.com/jutRPRbneW
— UltraRunning Magazine (@UltraRunningMag) October 24, 2023
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!