Calgary-area ultrarunner Dave Proctor announced today that the famous Lazarus Lake (aka Laz), race director of the infamous Barkley Marathons, has confirmed he will attend Proctor’s Outrun Backyard Ultra, the new last-person-standing race to take place at the Millarville racetrack, southwest of Calgary, on June 21. Outrun Backyard Ultra is modelled after Laz’s own Big’s Backyard Ultra, which takes place in Tennessee in October (and which Proctor also plans to race this year).
The concept of a backyard ultra is that runners start a 6.71K loop every hour on the hour, and must complete each loop within the hour. If you finish the loop in under an hour (which is easy for the first few loops), you may 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. Runners eventually start to drop out, or can no longer finish the loop within the one-hour time limit. The last person standing wins, and everyone else is a DNF. Races typically go on for a couple of days or more.
Proctor commented to us that he has always appreciated Laz’s tremendous support for Outrun Rare, the organization co-founded by Proctor to support research into rare diseases. (Proctor’s young son has a rare disease.) Proceeds of the race will benefit the Rare Disease Foundation.
Proctor released the following statement this morning:
“As an endurance runner, I’ve watched at a distance Lazarus Lakes’ wild races and just shook my head. He brings wonder and amazement to our sport by taunting athletes and getting them to dig really deep to unearth the relentlessness that we all strive to find. Laz has the ability to make each and every one of us find our inner grind.
“We’ve engineered a very soft existence for ourselves in the first world, to the point that most people view physical exertion as torture. Laz reminds us that we all have way more in the tank than we let on, and that at the bottom of the gas tank is where you truly find character and bliss. Somehow Laz’s presence drives people to new destinations.
“Having Laz’s support at this year’s inaugural Outrun Backyard as our honorary race director is huge for the Canadian running community, but even larger for the countless families dealing with rare diseases across Canada. His presence and his support for Outrun Rare will go a long way in helping us spread our message.”
Date: Friday, June 21, 2019 starting at 10:00 a.m. Mountain time
Location: Millarville Racing & Agricultural Society, 306097 192 Street, Millarville, Alta. T0L 1K0
Register: Ultra Signup (click here)
The race is limited to 150 participants, and fewer than 30 spots are left.