Elm Creek Backyard Ultra
Welcome to year three of the Elm Creek Backyard Ultra! We had so much fun welcoming everyone to our backyard in 2023, and cannot wait to share it with you all again in 2024! The Elm Creek Backyard Ultra is the first ‘Backyard’ event in the Twin Cities. Inspired by the original Big Dog’s Backyard Ultra presented by Lazarus Lake, the Elm Creek Backyard will follow in its spirit. The format will follow guidance from the original and will serve as a launching pad for any runner pursuing the Backyard Championship at Big Dog’s.
The race is simple, complete a 4.167 mile loop every hour, for as long as you can. The last runner standing wins.
Each loop must be started at the top of the hour and no aid or pacing can be provided to runners while on course. In between loops, runners are welcome to have a crew and get any support they need.
Elm Creek Park Reserve will play host to this beautiful course traversing the south side of the park. The course starts and finishes at the Chipmunk Picnic area and ventures along the lake trail and around Mud Lake. The course has 296 feet of elevation gain and loss. The course will rotate between going clockwise and counterclockwise every few hours.
NEW THIS YEAR - The Backyard Ultra will kick off at 12:00 pm CDT on Friday, April 26th. Each loop will start at the top of the next hour and will proceed until we have our Last Runner Standing.
Registration for the event will open on September 1st, 2023 and close when the race hits capacity OR April 24th, 2024. We anticipate a capacity of 175 runners this year. If the race hits capacity, we will offer a waitlist and fill spots as they become available
Packet Pick-Up will be offered at various location the week leading up to the event and we will offer same day pick-up up to the race start.
The event is expected to finish sometime on Sunday, April 28th, but we are prepared to host runners as long as it takes…
• Runners must be standing in the starting corral when the next loop starts or else they will not be able to continue.
Event's current local time: 7:34 AM CT
• Runners will also not continue if they choose not to themselves.
• There will be no late starts once the bell is rung.
• Loops will continue until only one runner remains, and at that point, once that person completes a loop on their own, that runner is the winner.
• All other runners are officially a DNF. However, we will capture total distance covered for each participant as a part of the results.
It is important to note there MUST be one person to finish a loop in the hour given. For example: If two runners are left and they both finish a loop in the time given and then one runner drops, the other runner still must complete another loop in the time given. If that last runner does not finish the last loop in the hour given, he will have “DNF” and there will be no finishers.
• At 3 minutes till each loop 3 whistles will be blown.
• At 2 minutes till each loop 2 whistles will be blown.
• At 1 minute till each loop 1 whistle will be blown.
• A bell is rung to signal the start of each loop.
• Once the bell is rung, runners may not visit their crew, their tent, their vehicle or receive aid from anyone.
• Runners must stay on the course once the bell is rung.
• The only reason for leaving the course once the bell is rung is to use the porta-potty.
• Once you finish your loop you may choose to do what you want, but must be back in the starting corral before the bell rings.
• Runners will need to be prepared to provide their own aid on course or via their own crew when back at the start/finish area.
• Crews are permitted, but not required. Crews may leave and come back as needed. Note, that overnight, the gates will be locked and crew will be able to leave, but not be able to return until dawn when the gates are unlocked.
• There will be a space next to the start and finish line to set up a chair, cooler, and other small personal items.
• Runners will also be allowed to set up a tent in the designated picnic area adjacent to the start/finish area (approx. 50-100 yds away).
• Any runner that DNF’s must immediately vacate their spot close to the finish line to allow surviving runners to move closer. Tents can remain up for the duration of the event and DNF runners are welcome to continue hanging out, spectating , cheering, crewing, partying as we wait until one runner remains.