Courtney Dauwalter on Running the Quarantine Backyard Ultramarathon

A few weeks ago, over a thousand runners from around the world joined a Zoom call to run the Quarantine Backyard Ultra. From treadmills and neighborhood loops to backyards, side gardens, and even a closed restaurant, everyone got creative to get their miles in while respecting social distancing practices. The two final competitors took the race to 63 hours, with Mike Wardian completing 262.52 miles after competitor Radek Brunner had treadmill issues starting his 63rd lap. After, we caught up with ultra runner and Hive Gold athlete Courtney Dauwalter to hear about her experience running 100 miles in her own neighborhood.
1. What exactly is the Quarantine Backyard Ultra?
The Quarantine Backyard Ultra was a virtual race put together to give runners a chance to get "together" and push their own limits while safely following their local health guidelines. It simulated the typical Backyard race format where athletes run 4.17 miles every hour until they cannot make the cutoff or decide to stop. It was really cool to see how creative people were in order to make this happen depending on their own space and where they were located in the world. I ran the laps on the streets in my neighborhood in Golden, CO.
2. How does someone plan to run an ultramarathon in their neighborhood? It sounds simple but also really complicated!
It is very simple and also quite difficult! I had all the nutrition, clothing options, and hydration I would need, as well as a chair, right in my entryway. This made it so I didn't have to actually go in the house every time I returned to it. From there, it was just deciding that this was the activity I was going to do for the day and to enjoy that process. We don't usually run ultramarathons in our own neighborhoods or by ourselves so it was a cool challenge.
How many laps did you run? How’d you stay sane and motivated?
I ran 24 laps, which equals 100 miles in 24 hours. I stayed motivated because I was so excited to be running this random 100 miles, and sane because it was a perfect Colorado day to spend outdoors. It was pretty fun to see my neighborhood differently than I normally do - lots of people out in their front yards that I got to say hello to, a gorgeous sunrise and sunset, and a new respect for the hills around here. They definitely got bigger as the race went on!
What’s better—passing by your house every few miles or running a burly point-to-point in the mountains?
I love mountain running and would say that is more enjoyable for a big adventure. Passing my house every 4 miles during 100 mile run, though, was something I never could have predicted I would do. The novelty of that made it really fun.
Any tips/takeaways for our community that is trying to adjust to canceled/virtual races and home workouts?
Take care of yourself and those around you, keep moving forward, and cut yourself some slack if motivation to do home workouts is low. Watch the Quarantine Backyard Ultra here Keep up with Courtney here. Courtney's aid station set up she shared on her Intagram profile