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The hardest virtual running challenge of 2020

Aravaipa Running's twist on the traditional backyard ultra format will see runners covering a mile every 15 minutes for as long as possible

If you’re intrigued by the backyard ultramarathon format but don’t think you could swing repeatedly running 6K at a time every hour, the Lone Mountain Last Person Standing race is the event for you. Like the Big’s or Quarantine backyard ultras, this new race from the Aravaipa Running team will see participants running a set distance over a set period of time, but instead of hour-long rounds, runners will cover one mile every 15 minutes. Once the race starts, there’s no telling how long it could go, and it will last until only one runner remains. The virtual event is open to runners worldwide, and it’s set to start on July 25. 

Race rules and strategy 

The rules of the race are simple enough: be ready to go at the start of every lap and make it back in time before the 15 minutes are up. Runners have to check in on a video call after every mile to prove they’ve completed the correct distance, and they must be on camera and in their personal starting corral area when the next lap begins. Runners can complete the mile wherever they like, whether that’s outside on a mile loop or inside on a treadmill. 

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As for a race plan, don’t go out trying to run the fastest mile of all the participants. If you drop a mile PB in the first round (or at any point in the competition), you’ll pay for it as the day progresses. If you can manage it, give yourself a few minutes of rest every round. Coming in at around 10 to 12 minutes per mile would probably be ideal, because it will give you time to rush to the bathroom, grab some food or just sit down ahead of the next mile. As is suggested on the Lone Mountain event webpage, runners need to “spend each minute wisely.” 

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How long could it go? 

It’s tough to predict how long this event could go, but if the Quarantine Backyard Ultra (QBU) is any indication, the Lone Mountain race might take a long time to complete. In the QBU, Mike Wardian won the race after 63 hours and 422K of running, and although the Lone Mountain is a modified event with 15-minute rounds, both race formats see runners covering about four miles per hour. Could the ultra community be in store for another 60-hour event? We’ll have to wait and see how it all shakes out later in July. 

To find out more about the Lone Mountain Last Person standing or to register for the event, click here

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