Lazarus Lake, race director of the Barkley Marathons and numerous other ultra-trail races in Tennessee, arrived in Calgary last night at the invitation of Canadian ultrarunner Dave Proctor, who is holding the inaugural Outrun Backyard Ultra at the Millarville racetrack today. He was greeted by Proctor, who presented him with one of his trademark Smithbilt cowboy hats customized with an orange band to represent Outrun Rare, and his publicist, Stephanie Gillis-Paulgaard.
The race is modelled after Laz’s own Big’s Backyard Ultra, which takes place in his home state of Tennessee every fall. The term refers to an attrition-style last-person-standing race, in which runners follow a looped course with an imposed time limit that seems generous enough at first (usually an hour, for ease of record-keeping). If they finish under the time limit, they may rest and eat until the next loop starts. Their race ends when they either fail to make the cutoff, fail to show up at the start line for the next loop, or decide to drop out. Races typically go on for a couple of days or longer, and winners have been known to complete hundreds of miles in this way. (Last year Courtney Dauwalter ran 446.67K at Big’s before conceding victory to Johan Steene, who was still going.)
The winner of the Outrun Backyard Ultra will receive the golden coin, which is a ticket into Big’s Backyard Ultra, which Proctor is also entered in this year–as long as they have raced the most or second-most loops of all seven backyard ultras in North America.
All of Proctor’s runs and races benefit the Rare Disease Foundation. Most recently, Proctor broke both the 12-hour and the 100-mile treadmill records at the race expo for the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon.