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Canadian wins Aravaipa Running’s last person standing race

Brian Bondy ran 31 laps and 208K to win the Lone Cactus virtual ultramarathon

Photo by: Strava/Brian Bondy

Aravaipa Running held the Lone Cactus, its second last person standing event of 2020, over the weekend, and after 31 hours of running, Canadian ultrarunner Brian Bondy took the win. The Belle River, Ont., resident covered a total of 208K to outlast California’s Graham Felsenthal, who failed to make the one-hour cutoff on the last lap. Despite horrible weather conditions, Bondy spent 30 of his 31 laps outside, only moving indoors to his treadmill for what turned out to be his final lap. 

Last person standing 

Like Big’s Backyard Ultra, the Lone Cactus was a hybrid event, with some runners competing in person and others racing virtually. Also like Big’s, the race followed a simple hour-by-hour format, and participants had 60 minutes to complete a 6.7K run. They could run wherever they wanted (inside on the treadmill, outside on the road or anywhere else), just as long as they made it back to their personal starting corral in time to prove they had run the correct distance (by showing their watch or GPS file to the official Lone Cactus video call) and head out for their next lap. 

RELATED: Aravaipa’s last runner standing race lasts 37 hours, 148 miles

After each lap, runners could spend the remainder of that hour however they liked, whether that was eating, changing into dry clothes (which Bondy did after many laps) or taking a quick nap. The last person running was the winner, and that turned out to be Bondy. 

Bondy’s big win 

Bondy ran well throughout the event, posting even splits for much of the run. “My loop times were pretty consistent,” he told the Aravaipa crew after the race, “from 47 minutes to 48 minutes for most loops, except during the night when I went faster to get six- to seven-minute naps in.” Bondy’s consistency served him well, and his regular rest after each lap kept him fresh for the 31 hours. 

RELATED: Tim Tollefson, Nicole Bitter take wins at Javelina Jundred

Bondy had raced one last person standing ultra before — an experience that might have benefited him this time around. In April, he ran the inaugural Quarantine Backyard Ultra, in which he ran 27 laps and 186K. He upped his game for the Lone Cactus, improving his result from the spring by more than 20K to take the overall win. 

Kelly Young of California was the top female finisher with 181K, good enough for fourth-best overall, although the race was not separated into gender categories (as usual with the last person standing format). Full results for the Lone Cactus can be found here.