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Photo courtesy of Film My Run

Backyard Ultra Record Broken in the UK


By Dan Stinton

How far is an ultramarathon? There may be some debate about just how far over 26.2 miles qualifies as an ultra, but if you cover over 337 miles it’s fair to say you have firmly satisfied the definition. It may even need another classification.

John Stocker did just that, completing the distance over 81 hours in the Suffolk Backyard Ultra event, leaving all the other competitors with a Did-Not-Finish (DNF) - even fellow runner Matt Blackburn who ran just one lap less.

The race format is straightforward: run 4.167 miles every hour until you can’t carry on. You have to arrive back at the start and be ready to go in time for the next loop or you’re disqualified. The final runner must complete a loop on their own, or it’s declared there is no winner.

Not only did John Stocker remain the last man standing, he broke the world record for the event which stood at 75 laps. With people glued to the tracker and social media awash with astonished comments of how these two runners relentlessly carried on, with no idea when it would end. Two other runners dropped out after completing 37 laps leaving John and Matt to continue with the longest known head-to-head in the Backyard series.

Winning the event gave John a “golden ticket” to the Big Dog’s Backyard Ultra, devised by Lazarus Lake, creator of the legendary Barkley Marathons. With a new record to compete with, and similar events popping up around the world, it looks like a very popular race format that is capturing the imagination of ultrarunners around the world.

How far can you go?


Photo courtesy of Film My Run


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