May 26, 2020
Australian long-distance running legend Ron Grant will be the official ambassador for a new running festival which will debut in the South Burnett on April 3 next year.
He will be greeting runners taking part in the Dead Cow Gully Backyard Ultra, a gruelling marathon race where the ultimate winner will be the last runner left on their feet,
The Backyard Ultra is a 6.7km loop race that has to be completed in an hour.
Competitors try to finish each loop as quickly as possible so they have plenty of time to recover before they attempt the next loop.
The event ends when the last runner either concedes or fails to finish the distance within the one-hour time frame.
The concept was invented by American Gary “Lazarus Lake” Cantrell in 2011.
Since then, his original race has gone on to spawn many similar events all over the world.
The current world record is held by Johan Steene who completed 68 laps (almost 456km) at Big’s Backyard Ultra at Bell Buckle, Tennessee, in 2018.
The South Burnett’s own Backyard Ultra is being organised by Tim Walsh and will be held on his family’s cattle grazing property at Walsh Road in Runnymede next year.
Competitors will tackle a course that winds through undulating farmland and a gully etched with cattle tracks, returning to the main farmhouse where a camping area will be set up nearby.
On Sunday, Ron and his wife Anne visited the farm to inspect the course and give their thumbs-up to Tim’s idea.
Ron said while age had forced him to cut back on running, his love of the sport remained as strong as ever and he was very pleased to see another running event appear in the South Burnett.
He was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 1985 for his services to long-distance running
The Dead Cow Gully Backyard Ultra will join the Maidenwell Easter Running Festival and Wondai’s Country Running Festival, two events that now attract several hundred runners every year.
Tim said the decision to hold the Backyard Ultra in April was forced on him by the jam-packed south-east Queensland running calendar.
But he didn’t believe the new ultra-marathon would have any negative impact on either the Maidenwell or Wondai events.
“We’ll probably only conflict with Maidenwell every three or four years because of the way Easter moves around, and Wondai’s event is in June so there’s no cross-over at all,” he said.
“It’s also a completely different type of running event, so it’s also likely to different attract people.”
Tim said planning for the Dead Cow Ultra was progressing well and he’s already received interest from Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba runners.
“Until we hold the first ultra it’s hard to know how big it will be but if we get 50 runners taking part I’d be happy,” he said.
“And naturally, the more, the better.”
The Dead Cow Gully Backyard Ultra already has a Facebook page and Tim hopes to launch a website for the event soon.
Runners who would like to know more can also phone Tim on 0439-666-079 or send him an email