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2023 Winner: Hugh Beedell, 18 hrs, 18 laps, 120.6km

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Start/Finish adjacent to Cottonwood Lake Regional Park parking lot.

Registration opens February 1, 2024

Registration will be limited to 66 runners; set your reminder to sign up early!

$55 entry, comes with unique suprise swag, and a guaranteed good time.

Proceeds from the race will go to the Nelson Cycling Club for multi-use trail building and maintenance. (The NCC is responsible for most of the amazing trails on which we run, right here in our backyard).

What's a
Backyard Ultra?

The devious brainchild of Lazarus Lake, the creator of the Barkley Marathons, a Backyard Ultra is a no-frills trail running race that almost anyone can attempt.

The rules are simple. At 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 12, 2024, the horn sounds to start the race. Runners complete a lap of the 6.7km trail (compact gravel rail trail, beside a lake, partially forested, and partially in a mountain meadow. Deceptively challenging). Runners need to finish within one hour - which is achievable by most, even beginners.

At the end of their lap, they have whatever time is left in the hour to rest, eat, and stretch. At exactly 9:00 a.m., the horn sounds again, and everyone heads off for lap #2. 

If you don't finish in the hour, or choose not to start the next hour, you're eliminated from the race and you're listed as DNF (did not finish).

The race ends when only one person successfully completes a lap. That person is the winner.

Backyard Ultras often go for 18-24 hours, but it's not uncommon for them to go MUCH longer than that. As long as you complete a lap in an hour, and are in the start/finish corral for the start of the next lap, you're still in the race.

Backyards are 'no-frills' events, meaning runners are responsible for their own aid and support. We'll have porta-potties, water, and some basic supplies at the start/finish corral, but runners need to have their own support crew if needed. 

It's competitive, but based in camaraderie, because everyone starts each lap together. It's accessible to most runners, because it's about endurance and perseverance, not necessarily speed. 

It's a great test of your ability to push through pain, fatigue, and exhaustion. Classic Type-2 fun!

Route details

Rail Trail - Cottonwood south to Apex

After a family of Grizzly bears forced a last-minute relocation of our race in 2023, we've decided that the bears actually did us a favour, and we're sticking with our 'replacement' route at Cottonwood Lake!


Cottonwood Lake Regional Park is about 10 minutes south of Nelson on Hwy 6. There's ample parking, washrooms, and lots of space for racer crew and spectators. 

The race route is a simple - but deceptively challenging - out-and-back loop on the rail trail. 3.35km out, and 3.35km back. The route surface is compacted gravel/dirt path that is mostly shaded by mature trees, and winds alongside Cottonwood Lake. Towards the turnaround point, runners emerge from the forest into a clearing at the Nelson Nordic XC ski area.

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