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Meet the Canadian currently rocking Big’s Backyard Ultra World Championships

Eric Deshaies of Gatineau, Que. is leading the field in Tennessee after 49 yards or 328 km

UPDATE 10:34 a.m. ET: Eric Deshaies completed yard 50 in 59:12 and declined to start the next loop. Eight runners remain on the course.

Five Canadians were among the 35 ultrarunners who started at Big’s Backyard Ultra World Championships on Saturday, and, after 50 hours/yards (335 km) only one is left – and he is leading the field. Eric Deshaies of Gatineau, Que., is not exactly a household name, even in ultrarunning circles, but that may be about to change. 

Big’s Backyard Ultra World Championship has begun

Deshaies, 48, is also a veteran ultrarunner, and on Sunday evening he was in second position behind Alberta’s Dave Proctor, with an average loop time of 47:58. (Proctor dropped earlier Monday, after 40 yards or 268 km.) Deshaies, like Proctor, has been racing ultras for years. According to Ultrasignup.com, there is only one podium finish on his resume (he was second at the 2018 Laurel Highlands 70.5 miler in 2018), but he’s earned top-10 finishes at races like Moab 240, Badwater 135 and the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 miler. 

Eric Deshaies

Proctor was the last Canadian to drop. The other four Canadians who raced are Terri Biloski (who dropped after nine yards), Stephanie Simpson (29 yards) and Matt Shepard (31 yards). Earlier Monday morning, some of the big names like Courtney Dauwalter, Maggie Guterl and Mike Wardian dropped (Wardian after 36 yards, Dauwalter and Guterl after 42 yards). Wardian also ran the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 10 and the Boston Marathon on Oct. 11.

The race began Saturday morning at 7 a.m. local time, with 35 runners. At the time of publication, nine runners remained. You can track live results here