BELL BUCKLE, TN. (WSMV) - It's one of the most grueling races you may have never heard of - and anyone can win, you just cannot quit until everyone else does.
The Big Dog's Backyard Ultra started 10 years ago as the first 'last man standing' race of its kind. The rules are simple, run a 4.16 mile loop every hour until everyone else has quit or the other runners fail to complete the loop within the allotted hour time frame. You can only break for rest in the spare time before starting the next loop at the top of every hour.
Since its inception in 2011, there are more than 300 backyard ultras around the world. The races drag on all day and all night, hour after hour, day after day. It'll begin its 2021 edition at 7 a.m. on Saturday.
Results from Big Dog's Backyard Ultra over the years show winners completing between 200 and 300 miles.
To qualify, you must have won a backyard ultra, anywhere in the world. Despite the appeal for many to see one of the world's ultimate endurance races, spectators are not allowed at the race site in Bell Buckle.
"The entire race is about the will to win," race creator Gary "Laz" Cantrell said. "You don't have to be fast; you don't have to be strong. You have to keep walking into that starting corral and going again."
Katie Wright, the 2019 Backyard Ultra champion from New Zealand, knows the ticket to a good finish - and it's mostly all mental.
"There aren't a lot of things in life that you can actually go and test yourself," Wright said. "The mental game of having a reason to carry on really makes it on this particular event.”