Home > Trail Running

Your next challenge: hop into a backyard ultramarathon

Aravaipa Running has an upcoming virtual and in-person last runner standing race, and everyone's invited to see how far they can go

Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc Course Photo by: Pascal Tournaire/UTMB

If you followed the recent three-day battle at Big’s Backyard Ultra, you’re familiar with the last-runner-standing race format. Twenty-one countries participated in Big’s, but the run wasn’t open to just anyone—runners had to be invited to compete for their national teams. Whenever there’s a backyard ultra, it captures the attention of runners everywhere, and luckily for you, there’s another one coming up: the Lone Cactus Last Person Standing race by Aravaipa Running. The event will start on November 21, and with both in-person and virtual race options, anyone and everyone can participate.  


Just like at Big’s, runners in the Lone Cactus ultra will have one hour to cover 6.7K. They will continue to run the same loop every hour until they either call it quits or don’t make it back to the start in time for the next lap. In both cases, these runners will DNF. The runners who manage to make it back in time every lap get to keep going, and the race will go on until only one runner remains (hence the race’s title of Last Person Standing). 

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

Due to COVID-19, many runners won’t be able to make it to Arizona, where the in-person event will be held, but the virtual race pretty much solves this issue. Virtual participants will still be included in the overall standings, so whether you’re in Arizona running alongside the rest of the field or at home running on your treadmill or around your neighbourhood, you’ll be in the hunt for the win. Virtual runners will have to check in on a video call after they complete each lap to prove that they ran the appropriate distance before heading out for their next 6.7K loop. 

Maggie Guterl at the 2019 Big’s Backyard Ultra. Photo: Instagram

The race’s workaround with in-person and virtual races will be welcome news to fans who watched Big’s. In that race, groups of runners gathered in the 21 participating countries and video called to connect with each other. When one person remained from a country, they were declared the national champion and they had to stop running. This was unfortunate, especially for Courtney Dauwalter, who won the American title after 68 laps (455K) and had to quit while two Belgians got to carry on and battle for the overall title. This won’t happen with the Lone Cactus event, and everyone who continues to run 6.7K in an hour or less will be allowed to carry on with the race until a sole champion is crowned. 

RELATED: Jamil Coury runs helipad marathon ahead of state-wide lockdown

To learn more about this exciting event and to test out the backyard ultra format for yourself, head to the Aravaipa Running site

Check out the latest buyer's guide:

Top 10 shoes our testers are loving in June

We tested tons of great shoes this year, but only the very best make the list