Hello brave participants! This unique race concept does not require you to the be the fastest, it only requires you to be the toughest.
This event was inspired by Gary Cantrell's (AKA Lazarus Lake's) "Big's Backyard Ultra" held in Tennesee.
At the top of every hour a 4.16-mile trail run will begin. Each runner is required to run this loop before the hour is up. Then, at the top of the next hour, you all leave for the same 4.16-mile loop again. It's that easy.
The run will continue as such until only one person remains. That last person will have to complete one last 4.16-mile loop on their own at which point they will be the finisher. All other entrants will be granted a "DNF" as they failed to run as far as the finisher. This means the race may continue overnight and into the next day. This also means that the distance of the race isn't determined by the "sole survivor", it means that it's determined by the person that drops out last!
There will be one aid station (at the start/finish) and it will have the typical aid station fare. If you have any special needs or requests please ask the RD or bring it yourself. At dusk (or when the RD gets hungry) we'll fire up a BBQ and cook up some grub for everyone. If you have anything you wish to bring for the BBQ feel free.
It is a condition of our USATF liability insurance that pets not be allowed on the course at the same time as the runners. Service animals are allowed, of course.
Sole Survivor is currently an "affiliate" event of Big's Backyard Ultra. Big's Backyard is the world championship event for this race format. The winner of Sole Survivor will become eligible to enter Big's. If entry is granted, Sole Survivor will pay the airfare for the lucky (unlucky?) entrant! (up to $600) Contact the Race Director for more information.
Rules (part 1)
The following rules were taken from Big’s Backyard Ultra in Tennessee. It is the championship race for this format (AKA the “backyard” ultra). Some additional rules have been added for clarification.
The official race rules for Sole Survivor are:
1. All runners need to be present at least 30 minutes before the start of the race. The official race start is at 8:00 AM therefore all participants shall be present to listen to the race rules by 7:30 AM. Allow for additional time to get checked in and get your bib. If you want to set up personal gear before 7:30 please account for the extra time needed.
2. At 3 minutes, 2 minutes and 1 minute before the top of each hour a whistle will be blown notifying the runners how much time is left before the race start. This is the only time warning provided. All runners are required to be in the starting corral before the top of the hour. Failure to line up in the starting corral will result in disqualification of the runner.
3. At the top of every hour a 4.16667-mile trail run will begin (each loop will have a short out & back pavement section at the start in order to adjust the distance so that it’s exact, and also to thin the runners out into single file before heading down the single track trail).
4. Absolutely NO late starts will be allowed.
5. Each runner is required to “answer the bell”. This means they start their run at the top of the hour and leave the corral with the rest of the runners. If you have to tend to a pressing need (porta potty break, untied shoe, forgot a water bottle, etc.), do this after the top of the hour, after you have run out of the starting corral.
6. The Race Director is the official keeper of time. Do not assume you know what the “official” race time is. Pay attention.
7. The trails will be well marked and a map of the route will be available.
8. If you get lost during the loop, backtrack to where you last saw a course marker and continue the loop. This is standard protocol for trail races. If you get lost so badly that you can’t find a course marker and can’t complete the loop, you will be DNF’d.
9. Each runner is required to run this entire loop before the hour (60 minutes) is over. Failure to complete the loop within 60 minutes will result in disqualification.
Rules (part 2)
10. The time needed to complete the loop does not matter, only that the runner be back at the start before the hour expires. Upon successful completion of the loop, all runners are considered “tied”. Speed does not matter in this event.
11. At the top of the next hour and after the three whistle warnings, all runners will leave the corral for the same loop again.
12. After completing the 4.16667-mile loop, each runner may use their time between loops to do as they please (eat, tend to their feet, change clothes, use the port-a-potty, etc.) However they cannot leave the venue, nor can they start their next loop early. You are even allowed to nap during your “break” between loops. If the runner elects to sleep, it is their own responsibility to be awake before the next loop starts. Yes, a crew member can wake the runner up.
13. Bring a camp chair, warm clothes, sleeping bag or blankets as it may get chilly overnight.
14. If a runner elects to drop out and call it quits, he/she must present themselves to the Race Director BEFORE the next loop has started. At that time (and after much castigation, chastisement and a general tongue-lashing) the runner will ring the “bell of failure and shame”, announcing their departure from the race. They will then be removed from the roster.
15. This event may continue overnight and into the next day (or with any luck, until Monday!)
16. Slower runners must allow faster runners to pass.
17. Do NOT litter.
18. Stay on the trails.
19. No pacers are allowed.
20. The run will continue as such every hour until only two runners remain. When one of those two runners fails to complete the loop within an hour, or fails to present themselves in the starting corral before the top of the hour, the one remaining runner will then have to complete one more 4.16667-mile loop on their own at which point they will be the sole "finisher". All other entrants will be granted a "DNF" as they failed to run as far as the finisher. It is the last person that drops out that dictates the length of this race.
21. The last person to drop out is granted with the “assist”, as they determined the length of the race.
22. The event is officially over when the lone “finisher” (our sole survivor) completes his solo lap alone. The finisher is not allowed to continue on for additional solo laps beyond this last one.
23. Last rule: have fun and support your fellow runners!
“Can I camp out or put up a pop-up canopy?” There will be several pop-up canopies provided by the race, but they are first-come, first-served. If you wish to have your own canopy you may want to bring it and set it up early. Yes, you can camp in your space. A comfy camp chair or even a cot is recommended if you plan on sleeping. You may also want your own chair & ice chest. You may get chilled overnight, so bring a blanket or a warm jacket.
Local time: 7:17 PM
“Am I allowed to have a crew?” Yes, you can have friends & family come cheer you on and crew you, but they cannot run the course with you or the other runners (no pacers). They shall stay in the parking lot.
“What food will you have?” There will be one aid station at the start/finish and it will have typical aid station food. There will be a lot of ice available. If you have any special needs or requests please ask the RD well in advance, or bring it yourself. You can have food delivered to the start/finish too. There will be hot soup (vegan and chicken noodle) for the overnight runners. If you wish to bring something to share with your fellow runners, please do so.
“Will beer be sold?” A liquor permit was not obtained for this event.
"Will Sole Survivor count towards my Marathon Maniac / Half Fanatic count?" The answer is; if we have enough entrants it will (There has to be at least 10 finishing the marathon distance or further and at least 15 finishing the half marathon distance for it to count)
“How far can I push myself?” • If you are willing to run just 7 hours you’ve completed a marathon. • 8 hours is a bit over a 50K. Congratulations if this is your first ultramarathon! • 12 hours is 50 miles. • 15 hours is a bit over 100K. • 24 hours is 100 miles.
“Can I sleep in the port-a-potty?” No.