Australian breaks backyard ultra world record by running almost 685 kilometres

In a feat of remarkable endurance, Australian athlete Phil Gore set a new global standard at the Dead Cow Gully Backyard Ultra in Queensland, Australia. Running an astounding 102 "yards" — a distance of nearly 685 kilometers — over more than four consecutive days, Gore broke the previous world record early on Wednesday morning (Australian Eastern Standard Time).

This record-setting effort was aided in no small part by New Zealand's Sam Harvey, who matched Gore's blistering pace for 101 yards. This performance broke the former world record set by Belgians Merijn Geerts and Ivo Steyaert.

The backyard ultra format is an arduous test of endurance that requires competitors to begin a "yard" (or loop) each hour, continuing until only one contestant remains. During the closing hours of this historic race, which took place on a cattle property roughly 180 kilometers northwest of Brisbane, Gore and Harvey braved the bitter cold of Australia's winter solstice.

After completing 101 yards side by side, Harvey retired early into the 102nd loop. This left Gore to conquer the final loop solo and seize the world record. Prior to this, both runners had significantly surpassed the previous Australian record of 76 yards and the course record of 44 yards.

The Dead Cow Gully Backyard Ultra in rural Queensland, Australia, offers a unique marathon experience. Participants tackle a 6.7km loop every hour until only one remains standing. Located on a 6th generation cattle property, this challenging event takes place amidst timbered ridges and partially cleared creek flats. The historic IONA homestead, over 110 years old, adds to the charm of the surroundings.

Interestingly, the former record-holder's Belgian runners Merijn Geerts and Ivo Steyaert had opted to conclude their run together during their 101st loop to spread a positive message during tumultuous global events.

Gore's new world record is the latest exciting development in an already electrifying year for ultrarunning. The year has also seen ultrarunner Jennifer Russo shatter the women's world backyard ultra record previously held by American Courtney Dauwalter.

The spirit of camaraderie and self-sacrifice shone brightly during the race, particularly in the final stages. Despite nearing medical withdrawal, Harvey continued running, enabling Gore's attempt at the world record. This selfless act further underscores the collaborative nature of the backyard ultra, marking a unique facet of this rigorous sporting event.


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