Quarantine Backyard Ultra Take 2

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You may remember the first Quarantine Backyard Ultra (QBU) which took place this past April. Mike Wardian ran 63 loops and became the first winner of this virtual race experience.

This past weekend, the gang put on another round of this backyard style race with 1,230 runners from 80 different countries. As of today, Monday, July 13th, at 9:31 am CT, two runners remain: Akio Ueno (Japan) & Jon Noll (US). Both are on lap 48, which amounts to 315.16 km or 195.83 miles complete so far. You can watch them battle it out on Facebook here.

If you’re not familiar with a backyard style event, it goes like this. Beginning at a specified time, 8am CT, in the case of the QBU, all runners leave their start corrals and complete 4.167 miles. Runners have the entire hour to complete this mileage by walking or running. No outside aides are allowed like pacers, poles, bikes, etc. Runners must complete the loop and return to the start corral to await the next hour.

At the top of each hour a cowbell was rung and runners headed outside or onto their treadmill to complete their loop. The faster the runner completed the loop, the more rest time the runner had.

Sounds like an easy concept, but like many running events, it quickly becomes mind over body with the repeated mileage.

I participated in the QBU this time around and had a blast. I completed 8 loops, or 33-ish miles. I ran 4 loops outside until it got too hot and humid for this Midwest gal, then I took to the tread. The race organizers: Ryan Kershaw, Dave Proctor, Stephanie Gillis, and Daniel Bowie, did a fantastic job with this event.

Pre-race communication was abundant, including several emails and Facebook Live Q&A sessions. There were two virtual packet pick-up options where runners got an overview of the rules and had a chance to ask questions. Every runner was given a unique Zoom link for the event and asked to log in prior to the hour to ensure no technical glitches.

Runners came to this event from 80 different countries, resulting in multiple time zones. While I was able to begin my race at 8am, some runners were beginning at 2am! We were able to see each other and communicate via the chat function of Zoom. Although it can’t compare to an in-person race, it was the next best thing to have this community.

I am thankful to the race directors and sponsors, who allowed us all to enjoy the weekend together, for FREE! Yes, this race was entirely free to runners, all costs being covered by the generous sponsors. The RD’s have tirelessly been producing content for the hundreds that are watching the event and for the runners themselves.

Check this out on Facebook Live and follow along with these two warrior runners!

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Mandi has been running for over 25 years and has participated in the Chicago, Detroit, and Boston Marathons. Mandi regularly competes in regional events and enjoys being a part of several running groups including CARA and the Badgerland Striders. She is a co-host on the Ten Junk Miles podcast and looks forward to hosting the Chicago Athlete Podcast. An RRCA certified coach and Les Mills certified instructor, Mandi is also a coach with Chicago Athlete Coaching. Mandi is a local government attorney by weekday and race warrior by weekend.

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