About 160 runners will ‘go loopy’ this weekend, and maybe beyond, when they compete in the inaugural, gruelling Arrowtown Backyard Ultra.
Starting 9am tomorrow, at Butlers Green, the runners complete a 6.71km Arrow River loop, on the hour, every hour, till the ‘last person standing’ wins.
The event’s being organised by Queenstown ultrarunner Brandon Purdue and Cromwell-based Highland Events.
Probably favoured to win is Kiwi Sam Harvey, who in June equalled the world record of 101 laps — 677km — in an Australian event before his Aussie rival knocked out one more lap.
He’s just been at the ultra world champs in the United States, however, which might reduce his staying power, giving hope to the likes of Dunedin runners John Bayne and Glenn Sutton.
Among local contenders, Jub Bryant, who has backyard ultra experience, has credentials, though he was only due to fly in from overseas this week.
Also in the running is Adam Carlson, 46, who’s completed a couple of 100-milers (160km), the latest in Naseby, in August.
This’ll be his first backyard ultra, but, living in Arthurs Point, he admits the course is ‘‘literally in my backyard’’.
‘‘If I get to 24 hours, I’ll be happy, if I get 30, I’ll be stoked, 35 [234.5km] would be amazing, and I’ve got to be at work on Monday morning.’’
He says the concept of ‘just’ completing 6.71km an hour sounds easy.
‘‘But if you have a bad 5km in a 100-miler, you can walk it, [in a backyard ultra] you won’t make it.
‘‘It’s a pretty flat course, so that makes it a bit easier.’’
He commends Purdue for ‘‘putting in the mahi to get it going, that’s not an easy task — and what a place to hold it’’.
Hopefully-happy Gilmour: Kimberley Gilmour’s first goal is 10 laps, or 67.1km
Lewis Latham, 40, should be another strong local contender — he’s run 135km in a 100-miler before pulling pin — but he’s carrying niggly
Achilles and calf injuries.
The event’s slower format might suit, however.
He’s also fundraising via a Givealittle page for the MATES in Construction charity, aimed at preventing suicides in the construction industry.
Another first-time backyarder is ‘new’ local Kimberley Gilmour, 44, who only got off the wait-list three weeks ago and is feeling a bit underdone.
She immediately knocked out six laps (40km) in training, though — ‘‘it’s kind of amazing because I haven’t run anywhere that far for
‘‘Ten [laps] is my first goal, which would be my longest-ever [run], and then 15.
‘‘My partner’s like, ‘if you can get through that, just do 24 hours’.’’