Have you ever run 4.17 miles in one hour? I think yes. But how many hours can you repeat that performance? In the Big Dog’s Backyard Ultra, you need to be the last one to run 4.17 miles per hour to win. If you stop, you are disqualified.
Since 2011, Gary Cantrell organise the editions of that crazy race. In a very discreet place, the most enduring trailer of the world try to keep the rhythm as long as possible. The record man is a Belgian dentist who runs for 75 hours and 312 miles. We can think that is easy for the best trailers of the world to keep this pace. But the weird thing is that every hour, there is a cut.
A war between the mind and the body
Every hour, if someone does not pass the “finish line”, he/her is disqualified. For the first hours, it is easy, you just need to run, drink and eat a bit. Then, hour after hour, you need to change your socks, you need to sleep, you are more and more hungry… But you still have one hour for completing 4.17 miles! Cantrell, the organiser, wanted a race that rewarded runners who were the toughest mentally rather than the fastest or fittest. “It’s a war between your mind and your body,” he says.
In 2019, Maggie Guterl was the first woman to win the race with no finish line. « I enjoy some level of suffering », says the American winner. “It’s a fun mental challenge,” says American Courtney Dauwalter after being a finalist in 2018. As we easily understand, to participate to that kind of race, you need to be… motivated and a bit crazy.
The 2020s edition has been cancelled due to the Covid but we’re hoping that this race completely crazy will take place again very soon.
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