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Dave Proctor introduces last-person-standing ultra

The Calgary-area ultrarunner will model Outrun Backyard Ultra after Lazarus Lake's popular last-person-standing race, which he will also run himself in 2019

Dave Proctor

Ultrarunner Dave Proctor, whose bid for a cross-Canada speed record this summer was cut short by a herniated disk, is now recovered, and has some exciting plans for 2019, all centred on ultrarunning and fundraising for his charity, Outrun Rare. They include starting his very own last-person-standing race, modelled after Big’s Backyard Ultra, the Lazarus-Lake-directed ultra in Tennessee, which he also plans to enter next year.

RELATED: Meet the inspiring Canadians at Big’s Backyard Ultra

Proctor’s race will be held on the summer solstice, June 21, 2019, and it will be called the Outrun Backyard Ultra. The concept is simple: the race consists of a 6.71K loop on the cross-country ski trails in West Bragg Creek Provincial Park, near Calgary, that is run every hour on the hour, with a one-hour time limit, for as long as it takes until only one person is left.

RELATED: Ultrarunner Dave Proctor recovered and running again

If you finish the loop well under an hour, you can rest or eat until the next loop starts, but you must be ready on the start line for the next loop when the horn sounds to avoid disqualification. The challenge lies in not only continuing to be able to complete loops in an hour, but in being willing to keep coming back for the next loop.

If you can last 24 hours, you will have run 100 miles (160K). Each loop has 120m of elevation. The last person remaining wins everything–$1,000 cash, a special-edition victor belt buckle, various other prizes, and bragging rights. There is no second or third prize, and there are no gender divisions.

This year at Big’s, the male winner, Johan Steene, ran 283 miles (452.8K) over 68 hours. Courtney Dauwalter, winner of this year’s Western States Endurance Runran 67 loops, and she and Steene both broke the previous record of 59 loops, set last year by Guillaume Calmettes. In Proctor’s words: “This race resembled a mesmerizing train wreck, allowing an intimate glimpse into the souls of those that just don’t understand the word ‘quit.'”

Proctor believes women are innately superior to men when it comes to ultrarunning, and that the winner could well be a woman. “I really do believe that over 150 miles, women are better than men in this sport,” he says. Some would argue there is little evidence for this, but considering there was only one person who lasted longer than Dauwalter at Big’s this year, it’s entirely conceivable that a woman could win.

All proceeds will go to the Rare Disease Foundation. Registration opens tomorrow, November 29, at 12:00 noon Mountain time (3:00 p.m. ET).