Kingaroy runner Mick Freeman begins another 6.3km lap of the Dead Cow Gully Backyard Ultra on Sunday afternoon (Photo: Jane Erkens)

April 14, 2023

The gruelling Dead Cow Gully Backyard Ultra marathon – run on cattle country at Runnymede – tested 195 competitors across the Easter long weekend.

Runners began doing the 6.7km loops at 7:00am on Easter Saturday, with the winner crossing the finishing line in the early hours of Monday.

Each competitor had 60 minutes to complete a loop or be eliminated.

How they chose to complete it – running or a combination of running / walking – was up to them, but the quicker they completed the course, the more rest time they enjoyed until the cow bell rang at the top of the hour for the start of the next loop.

Runners came from across Australia to test their strengths.

The event, billed as “the ultimate measure of human endurance”, continued until there was just one competitor left on the track.

Organiser Tim Walsh said this was the third year that the Backyard Ultra had been held on his family’s property.

By late Sunday night, there were five competitors left on Loop 37 but by Loop 41 there were just two, ultra marathon runners Ryan Crawford, from Gympie, and James Blanton, from Sydney.

Crawford and Blanton ran this lap together in 47 minutes, however Blanton was nursing a swollen ankle when he came home.

Blanton was forced to pull out due to his ankle injury on Loop 42, leaving Crawford to complete the lap alone, and be “the last man standing”.

A reminder … 42 loops is just over 281km!

Tim said Crawford was ranked No 6 in the world for ultra marathons.

Crawford previously won the Dead Cow Gully Backyard Ultra in 2021 by completing 44 loops.

South Burnett Nutters’ runner Mick Freeman successfully defended his title as the first local competitor home after running just over 200km.

Freeman completed 30 laps, two more than last year, and finished in the top eight.

Runners line up for the start of another lap on Sunday morning (Photo: Jane Erkens)

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Video by Dead Cow Gully of the end of Ryan Crawford’s last lap:


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