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Second edition of the Quarantine Backyard Ultra lasts 51 hours, 342K

It took American Jon Noll 51 laps to beat Japan's Akio Ueno in the virtual backyard event

From the moment the Quarantine Backyard Ultra (QBU) kicked off in April, it made headlines across the world, not just capturing the attention of runners, but even managing to find purchase with mainstream news outlets. The event returned for another round over the weekend, and although it didn’t last as long as the inaugural run did in April, the second edition of the QBU was just as thrilling. American Jon Noll took the win, outlasting Akio Ueno of Japan and running 51 laps for a total of 341.98K. 

Last runner standing 

The QBU is a last-runner-standing race. The event began on the morning of July 11, and from that point on, racers had to run 6.706K every hour. If a runner didn’t make it back from their lap before the end of the hour, they registered a DNF. Participants had to check in on a video call after the completion of each lap to prove that they had run the correct distance. As the hours and laps passed, more and more people dropped out, until Noll was the last person standing.  The event tagline was “All will DNF but one,” and Noll managed to hold on long enough to be the lone runner without a DNF next to his name on the results page. 

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Noll and Ueno 

Both Noll and Ueno ran on treadmills the entire way through, and they raced head to head from laps 42 to 50. One of the commentators noted that Ueno had stomach issues some time between 30 and 40 hours into the run, but instead of dropping out, he pushed through and switched up his nutrition plan. Whatever change he made clearly worked for him, because he continued to run a lot longer. Ultimately, it wasn’t Ueno’s race to win, and he stopped after 50 laps and 335K of running. This is still an incredible result, but only one runner can finish without a DNF, and Noll had one extra lap in him to grab the win. 

Just like the first edition of the race, the QBU grabbed the attention of thousands of people worldwide, both as runners and viewers. Before this virtual race was created, the thought of watching two runners duke out a run in separate venues, sometimes on treadmills, probably sounded pretty boring to a lot of people. But both runnings of the QBU have proven that to be false, and even though Ueno and Noll were in different countries, racing each other thousands of kilometres apart, they provided an exciting 51 hours of entertainment for ultrarunning fans everywhere.  

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