God’s own back yard ultra 2022 Results and Report

Report by: Cara Hanson

Date: Saturday 5th November 2022

What is a Back yard ultra?

The backyard ultra is a form of ultramarathon race where competitors must consecutively run the distance of 6,706 meters  (4.17 miles) in less than one hour, each lap is known as a yard and starts on the hour, every hour.  The race is over when only one runner remains to complete a lap. This runner is marked as the winner and only finisher, with all other runners receiving a “DNF”.

God’s own Backyard ultra takes part at Hunters Greave scout camp, Kirkstall, just outside Leeds. The race started at 8am on Saturday 5th November, race entry included camping from the Friday night until whenever you needed it.

When I first heard of this style of ultra, my first thought was I’d never do that! How wrong was I, after completing my first ultra in May, I decided ultras were for me and liked the idea of trying something different, so after Robert Hoffman (who is also known as The Hoff and will be for the rest of this report) put out the idea, I signed up without much thought.

Training was pretty much the same as how I trained for Dukeries 40, no plan , just a mix of back-to-back long runs (10 -15 miles), club runs, any races I fancied, a bit of fast stuff, a bit of slow stuff, walking,  lots of eating and lots of fun.
I generally believe if you’re training for something you shouldn’t restrict yourself from any run or race you fancy,  the most important thing is to enjoy yourself and be mindful of what makes you happy.

I went up on the Friday with my hubby Regan (who came to support) and the Hoff,  fully prepared for a cold night’s sleep.
The campsite had its own kitchen and toilet block, pretty handy!  It was freezing as soon as we arrived but we pitched up, got a pizza then found ourselves in the local pub to warm up and of course to have a pre-race G n T.
Sleep wasn’t great, especially as we kept being woken up by fireworks but at least we didn’t have a commute to worry about.

The weather forecast had predicted a fair bit of rain throughout the day, but I opted to wear shorts, deciding that my legs were in fact waterproof but I layered up on top to keep warm.

The start area was a marquee with a number of tables where we could keep our food and anything else we needed. Tea, coffee, fruit, sweets, chocolate and crisps were provided but I and everyone else had a box of food to keep us going, mine consisted of Jam and peanut butter sandwiches, potato salad, pretzels,  corn snacks, protein balls, tortilla chips, Mars bars, pot noodles, Rola cola and an electrolyte mix.

After a bit of chatting and photo taking with fellow strider Nick Booker it was time to start.  The Hoff and I hadn’t discussed running together but we started together and stayed together.  This is the only race I have ever done where we walked from the off, it felt strange but I knew we needed to go slow and surely people knew what they were doing . Having switched my watch from KMs to miles I’d worked out that if we did each yard at 12-minute miles we’d get 10 minutes rest on each yard, so I lapped my watch after every yard so I could keep an eye on the pace . The day loops consisted of canal towpaths, grassy fields and lovely woodland trail which included the Steps of doom (see picture) and a lovely downhill to stretch the legs. We fell into a natural run/walk pace and were completing each yard in between 43-47 minutes . There was plenty of banter along the way and talks of pushing each other in the canal.

We had an eventful yard 5 starting with the Hoff falling over and ripping a whole in his tights, he insisted he was OK. Then being the hero he is, he took hold of a random dog ( who had escaped its owner and was on a mission to trip up runners and nibble ankles) and convinced another dog owner to look after it to save any mishap.  Then came the Swan who decided it wanted to guard the trail, it did happily pose for a selfie though.

We did 8 days loops all together before switching to the night loops, out and backs on the canal. The Hoff was happy to say goodbye to the trails where  I was sad to move to the tarmac even though it meant a welcome shoe change.

We did find the first loop on the canal a bit soul destroying but after finishing this loop we were welcomed to the sight of Brian Jenkins who had come to support which gave us both a boost, him and Regan did a great job of supporting and giving a much-needed hug.  At this point we only had 3 yards to go before hitting my target of 12 (50 miles), as a lot of people around us were aiming for more, I felt happy that I’d be done in less than 3 hours, I never once felt tempted to do more and compete with others, I had my goal and they had theirs.

The last 3 yards were like an ongoing firework display, well it was bonfire night. A welcome distraction from the pain at the side of knee which I worked out being caused by my IT band (maybe I should have done more strength 😬) or was it a reaction to the tarmac?

With the night loop being a lot more runnable we were naturally faster so treated ourselves too more walking breaks and picked up a guy called Nick, who the Hoff referred to as Neil (this seems to be a common theme with the Hoff),  happy to be called Neil, Nick did the last 3 loops with us liking our run/walk strategy and general chat of rubbish!  By the last lap we had a thick blanket of fog (or was it smog from the fireworks?), we could have quite easily ended up in the canal without being pushed. I was wincing with pain on the small downhill part, much to The Hoffs amusement and much to my amusement it hurt him to laugh.

We finally finished after completing 50 miles to the the best hoodie and goodie bag which was made up of a mug, teabags, peanut butter, Yorkshire parkin, parkin flapjack, pontefract cakes, crisps and a can of IPA. Best DNF ever! Obviously we had to then go to the pub to warm up!


Well done to Nick Booker for completing 21 laps and 87 miles.
The winner and only finisher set a new record doing 37 yards and 154 miles.

I’d recommend this to anyone wanting to give big distances a go without having to sort the logistics of having a support crew follow you around and of course if you want a sub 24 hour 100 miler, this is perfectly paced to do that.

Name Laps Miles
Nick Booker 21 87
Cara Hanson 12 50
Robert Hoffman 12 50



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