Ash and Palmer are last ones standing in Coffs Backyard Ultra

Runners begin their first lap.

THE inaugural Coffs Backyard Ultra was hosted by Coffs Trail Runners on Saturday 1 June 2024.

The Backyard Ultra involves participants running or walking 6.7 kilometres (one ‘lap’) within an hour, with each new lap starting on the hour.

Anyone who cannot complete the lap within the hour cannot continue onto the next lap. The event continues until there is just one person remaining – the last one standing, with cash prizes also for the last female and male standing.

300 people registered for the event with 237 runners participating on the day with wet weather forecasted.

The event started at Coffs Harbour Showground and ran along the picturesque Coffs Creek Walkway.

Event Director Keelan Birch spoke about the success of the event.

“It was fantastic to see so many people – new runners, experienced runners – take up the challenge of the backyard ultra.

“We had 100 people run between one and four laps, which goes to show the inclusive nature of the event.

“You don’t have to be a serious runner to be part of the buzz of a backyard ultra.

“The whole event just had a fantastic and supportive atmosphere.”

The event was hit by a storm at around 4pm on the Saturday.

“The storm was intense,” Birch said.

“One moment it wasn’t raining, the next it was torrential with high winds and a massive temperature drop.

“Our finish line arch and flags all came down.

“It was a bit chaotic but fortunately the Exhibition Pavilion provided shelter.

“While the run continued, the rain certainly rattled a few runners and we saw a large drop off in numbers after the storm.

“The rain eventually stopped at around 6-7pm and the conditions were perfect for running during the night.

“However the muddy track was a challenge for the runners to keep dry feet.”

As runners continued into the night, sixteen runners completed lap 15 (100km), with many running the furthest they ever have.

For the ladies, Jenny Friend from Port Macquarie and Clare Palmer from Glenreagh both completed lap 18, which was a distance personal best for both of them.

Jenny did not begin lap 19 and Clare completed lap 19, making her the last female standing.

For the men, Jonathan Ash from Sydney was a strong favourite for the event.

He pushed Jason Gorham from Newcastle to achieve 25 laps – a distance PB.

Jason did not begin lap 26 and Jonathan completed lap 26, making him the last male standing.

The inaugural event was the first of its kind for the North Coast of NSW.

Organisers plan to host the event again next year and would like to extend their thanks to all the volunteers, sponsors and stallholders for supporting the event.

Leave a Reply