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Backyard Ultras

2 minute read

  • Backyard Ultras are a form of ultramarathon
  • Competitors must consecutively run the distance of 6706 meters
  • The winner is the last person standing
  • Harvey Lewis won the Ohio Backyard Ultra this weekend completing 55 laps

A backyard ultra is very different from a regular running event. Instead of awarding runners for their speed, it’s their endurance that really matters. Participants have an hour to complete a lap of a 6.7K course. Every runner who makes it back before the hour is up gets to keep running. Anyone who fails to run 6.7K in less than an hour stops.

At the start of the next hour, every remaining runner sets off for their next yard, running the same 6.7K loop.

There are no gender categories when it comes to backyard ultras, and there is just one winner at the end of the days-long event.

Last weekend about 100 ultrarunners gathered in Lucasville, Ohio, for Ohio’s Backyard Ultra (OBU).

In 2020 Tanner Lee, 23, was the winner of the OBU. He ran 38 yards (laps) which is 255km which was well over a day of running. 

Last weekend this distance was smashed! Harvey Lewis a 44 year old from Ohio ran for two days continuous, and after 55 laps he took the win with an astonishing final distance of 368 kilometres. Second place went to his fellow Ohioan Jennifer Russo, 55, who pushed Lewis for 54 laps (or yards) before stopping.

Harvey Lewis is an interesting guy.

Noted for his spontaneity as much as his dedication, Lewis often seeks new challenges to improve his health, with positive effects on the community or the environment as a side benefit. For example, he commutes to work every day of his own volition, usually running or cycling, but occasionally skiing or walking. Even on days immediately following an endurance race, he makes the six-mile round trip commute with his backpack filled with a change of clothes, his laptop, graded homework assignments and his packed lunch.

In July 2014, Lewis won the infamous Badwater Ultramarathon near Death Valley, CA, in just under 23 hours and 53 minutes. This race is touted as the world’s toughest foot race due to extremely hot temperatures and immense elevation changes throughout the course.

One impressive sidebar to Lewis’s running journey is his recovery from a car accident in July, 2004, in which his car somersaulted off the highway leaving Lewis with fractured fifth and sixth vertebrae in his neck, and in a neck brace for two months.

“I was inches from death and given a new lease on life,” said Lewis. “I love running, so I thought, I’m going to take full opportunity of this chance and just run … I had a fire to go all out.” Three months after his accident, Lewis ran a 4:29 marathon.

Ten years later to the month, Lewis won Badwater 

A social studies and economics teacher, world traveller and public speaker.

Lewis also attributes proper nourishment to his running success, saying being vegetarian, and more recently, vegan, gives him the “necessary ingredients for my body to bounce back quickly from punishing endurance events.”

Might be worth a follow…?

https://www.instagram.com/harveylewisultrarunner/

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