A Queenstown ultrarunner has scored resource consent for an Arrowtown version of the increasingly popular, if gruelling, backyard ultra.
Invented by American running legend Lazarus Lake, backyard ultras involve runners completing 6.7km loops every hour, on the hour, until the last person’s standing.
Brandon Purdue, who last year competed in two ultras, completing 34 laps, or 228km, each time, is organising the Arrowtown Backyard Ultra in conjunction with Cromwell’s Highland Events.
The inaugural event will take place from November 11 — a week before the Queenstown Marathon — and involve runners setting off from Butlers Green.
They’ll head towards Bush Creek then turn back and run on the Arrow River Trail to the second bridge before crossing it and returning to the start-line.
Formerly, New Zealand’s only backyard ultra was in Auckland, but since last year others have been established in Christchurch and Dunedin and, from this September, Timaru.
Purdue says ‘‘the cool thing about Arrowtown is, compared to the others in, like forests or farmland, this is an urban backyard ultra’’.
‘‘While the competitors are on the track, you’re going to have tourists, locals walking it, but, more importantly, for the support crew, those Arrowtown businesses are so close.’’
Purdue says he loves the format of the event — ‘‘you just have the ability to go out there and kind of push your limit’’ — and the vibe around it.
‘‘It’s very grassroots.’’
Backyard ultras hit the headlines last month when Aussie Phil Gore and Kiwi Sam Harvey duked it out for four days and nights at the Australian Masters Backyard Ultra at Dead Cow Gully — both equalled the world record of 101 laps (677km), but the former then claimed the new record by running one more lap.
Purdue has consent for a maximum 150 runners — within a day of opening entries last week, a dozen had signed up, including two Aucklanders.
Typically, he says half the field pulls out within 12 hours, but he thinks 36 hours is easily achievable on this course.
He originally plumped for Moke Lake, but Department of Conservation turned him down.
In seeking consent for Arrowtown, he also got approval for the Kelvin Peninsula trail which he might use one day.
Purdue — who last weekend competed again in Christchurch’s Krayzie Midwinter Backyard Ultra, which he finished second in last year — says he’s had council funding for his resource consent application, and also support from Queenstown Trails Trust (QTT) and Arrowtown Promotion and Business Association.
After the event he intends making donations to both QTT and the Wild For Nature Charitable Trust for native habitat restoration around Arrowtown.