The headline itself makes the nature of the race abundantly clear:
“There is no finish."
Nothing but the limits of willpower and human function can determine the extent or the winner of Big Dog's Backyard Ultra.
It may be relatively easy for these strong athletes to finish each lap and line up for another throughout the first few iterations.
After all, the runners who show up for this kind of challenge already have a strong grasp on the stamina necessary for long ultras.
No one can deny the extreme levels of physical, mental, and emotional fortitude it takes to willingly step into the ultramarathon pain cave, let alone make it through to the other side. When you step up to the starting line, you're signing up for...
It's one of the great equalizers in ultrarunning: Everyone comes face to face with the same demons at some point.
Working toward a concrete finish, no matter how far away, still stacks on less of a cognitive load than asking athletes to step blindly into the void for who knows how long.
Big’s Backyard Ultra takes all of the uncertainties already present in racing ultra distances on trails, and amps them all up by a huge notch because of the bravery it takes to enter that void.
Every lap offers up a new invitation into an unquantifiable future.
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There’s no end in sight for a long time to come, and that long time doesn’t even exist on a clock yet.
With that in mind, there’s nothing to focus on but the immediate moment and commitment:
Dedicating themselves to the concept of endless running without thinking too far beyond each individual step asks runners to hold themselves in a careful balance between two very distinct dimensions.
It pays to be the one runner able to forge ahead and choose to keep going no matter what decisions anyone else makes.
At the same time, companionship among runners in this atmosphere gives new meaning to the phrase “strength in numbers”.
Leaning so hard against the limits of human ability takes the kind of effort that’s hard to summon on your own.
Not only is it much easier to give up on such an open-ended mission without anyone else to share the load, it’s also much harder to push that envelope in the first place without anyone around to challenge or measure up against.
Motivation to forge ahead is just one piece of the puzzle.
A good challenge changes the way athletes see themselves and what they are capable of.
The race also only goes on so long as at least two runners keep up the effort, so there’s no challenge at all without enough contention to keep it flowing.
Runners on the field at Big’s Backyard Ultra become each other’s accountability buddies, performance metrics, and existential necessity all in one.
Your crew can provide the essentials, like:
It's one of the very things that helped Big's Backyard Ultra runner Harvey Lewis do the impossible this year.
He's already well-known for his multiple wins at the notorious Badwater Ultramarathon and 24 Hour World Championship.
And he did something even bigger. This year, at Big's Backyard Ultra, Harvey...
But the real secret ingredient for Harvey may have been the support he found in fellow runners Chris Roberts and Terumichi Morishita.
In the end, each of these athletes have made unparalleled contributions to running history.
Harvey showed up for the challenge with a winner’s grace and resolve, but all three taught us a lesson in camaraderie.
No matter how far the winner may go, there’s always the opportunity for more the next time around.
That’s the beauty of Big’s Backyard Ultra.
There is no finish, and there is no limit.
Some years might force runners to take a step back while others propel them forward by leaps and bounds, and that unpredictability is just another allure of the Backyard state of mind.
When there are no guarantees, not even at a finish line, there’s no telling how far we’ll go.