‘Round and ‘Round We Go: Outrun Backyard Ultra


Only a few days to go until our merry-go-round of running, camaraderie, fun, perseverance… and for those planning on completing more than a few loops, this is sure to turn into some mild or not-so-mild discomfort, pain, and struggle.


Because we love it – these types of struggles lead to growth and success. And more importantly, this race is for a great cause. The rare disease community deserve far more awareness than they are currently getting for the challenges they face and the support that is needed. This event is going to be a great opportunity to further this cause.

I haven’t been this excited about a race since training for my first few lofty goal races. For those not familiar with the race, Outrun Backyard will be a “last-runner-standing” style event where each runner has to complete a 6.7 km looped course in less than one hour, to be able to continue on to the next loop that starts every hour on the hour. This format has the potential to go all day and night… and the next day… and night…? It’s going to continue until all but one runner has thrown in the towel.

For those familiar with experienced ultra runners, running a single-stage race over the span of multiple days may not be that surprising. What IS going to be surprising, and what I’m most excited for, is seeing runners surprise themselves. I can’t wait to see runners shatter their own personal distance records. The event’s format will force everyone to take their time and pace themselves. A single 6.7 km loop in one hour makes for a casual pace that everyone can be confident in finishing. There’s no reason to push the pace as you only get credit for the number of completed loops – pace is irrelevant. Now, how many more ‘casual’ loops do you think you can finish? And how long until they stop being casual… I think it’s going to be more than most runners think they can do.

I was especially happy to hear of the venue change that happened last month. Millarville and Threepoint Creek reside in a very special part of the world that I’ve grown to know very well through my work as a river engineer – where I have helped to save land, roads, and houses in response to the 2013 flood that tragically affected so many of the communities and people in Southern Alberta. If you plan to attend the event, you might see some of my handy work along Threepoint Creek next to the Millarville Racetrack, which is helping to ensure this beautiful community facility is protected for years to come.

Millarville Racetrack
The Millarville Racetrack! We’ll be getting very, very familiar with this beautiful area next weekend.

I think I speak for everyone when I say we want to see all participants exceed their expectations and crush their goals. And to do this, we need to run this race together. Let’s practice what we as Canadians need to show the rare disease community – at Outrun Backyard Ultra, we will leave no person behind.

Good luck, and I’ll see you out there!

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