June 23, 2023
Nanango has revived its reputation as the ultra-marathon running capital of Queensland after Australian and world records for endurance running fell this week at the Dead Cow Gully Backyard Masters.
Decades ago ultra marathon events were held at the Nanango Showgrounds, but lapsed after a couple of years.
Three years ago, Runnymede resident Tim Walsh revived the tradition with a bang.
Tim hosted his first Dead Cow Gully Backyard Ultra Marathon on his family’s cattle property in 2020, attracting some of Australia’s best long-distance trail-running athletes.
His third event, held on the Easter weekend this year, tested a record 195 competitors over the 6.7km course.
On Saturday, more than 50 runners – including the elite of this most elite sport – took off at 7:00am for the “last man standing” Masters event.
Each competitor had 60 minutes to complete a loop or be eliminated.
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 lap.
By Lap 64, there were just four runners remaining.
Four days and four very cold nights later there were two runners left, Phil Gore, from Perth, and New Zealander Sam Harvey.
Sam dropped out on Wednesday morning after completing Lap 101.
Phil went on to complete Lap 102, securing the world record.
Days earlier US runner Harvey Lewis (90 laps total), Phil and Sam smashed the Australian record of 76 laps.
Wednesday’s South Burnett Regional Council Budget meeting was interrupted briefly so local councillor Jane Erkens could announce the news the world record had fallen.
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Video by Nancy Jayde Photography
(Strong language warning)