Amanda Nelson sets Canadian backyard ultra record in Germany

Amanda Nelson sets Canadian backyard ultra record in Germany

canadian ultrarunner Amanda Nelson broke her own Canadian backyard ultra record on the weekend by running 375.51 kilometers over 56 hours in Rettert, Germany. The 34-year-old from Woodstock, Ont., set the national women’s record by besting her former PB by one “yard”—a 6,706-km lap—at the Race of Champions-Backyard Masters.

The winner, Antonio DiManno of Italy, completed 74 laps for a distance just shy of 500 km.

The backyard ultra race format, created by Barkley Marathons founder laz lake (aka Gary Cantrell), requires participants to complete one yard every hour on the hour, until only one runner remains. The way the math works is that 24 yards (ie 24 hours of running) equals 100 miles.

Under backyard ultra rules, every runner but the winner is recorded as not finishing the race. So while Nelson technically recorded a DNF, she accomplished her race goal by surpassing the 55-yard record she set last year at the Backyard Ultra World Championships in British Columbia.

“I just wanted to beat what I did last time. I had to get to that 56 no matter what it took and I felt really fit and ready to do it,” Nelson told canadian running after the race. “I was having some gastro problems during the race, so that was really hard trying to make it through the hour when my stomach was just fighting me. The longest chunk I had with those stomach issues was about 12 hours, but I managed to push through that and not let it defeat me.”

Nelson’s latest effort adds to an impressive list of accomplishments in an ultra career that began only a few years ago. She holds the women’s 12-hour Canadian record (135.072 km), the 100-mile Canadian record (14:45:51) and the 24-hour Canadian soil record (227.33 km).

Nelson, the sole Canadian at the invitational race in Germany, ran the most yards of the dozen women entered in the event, and tallied the eighth-largest number of yards overall.

“I still haven’t caught up on my sleep but I don’t feel overly tired, probably because of all the adrenaline still,” Nelson said in the hours before catching her flight home early Wednesday. “After accomplishing something like this, you’re on a high for weeks.”

Part of the thrill, she said, was meeting Laz in person. “I’d never met him before,” said Nelson. “He seemed like a really cool guy.”

She said she would love the chance to see him again in October, when the Big Dog’s Backyard Ultra Individual World Championships get underway in Short Creek, Tenn.

“I’m on the at-large list for Big’s, but I’m pretty close to the bottom. It’s possible that my 56 could have got me there, but it depends on the next few backyards before they send out the invites.”

While her race calendar for the rest of the year isn’t written in stone—”I’d like to do some trail races, but I’m still deciding which ones”—Nelson says she is setting her sights on the 24-hour championships in France in 2025.

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