Record-setting backyard ultra effort a test of staying power

While he definitely deserves a beer, Jeremy Pelvin settled for a chocolate milk and reheated pizza yesterday.

After running for almost 50 hours straight, the Cantabrian won the inaugural Arrowtown Backyard Ultra and set a New Zealand record along the way.

Pelvin completed 50 laps of the 6.71km course — equating to 335.5km — pulling the pin just before 11am yesterday, having started one lap every hour on the hour since 9am on Saturday.

Dunedin’s Glenn Sutton was second, dropping out at lap 49, after 328.79km.

Both men, however, contributed to smashing the New Zealand record for backyard ultras, which until yesterday stood at 46 laps.

Pelvin told the Otago Daily Times it felt great to win but he was, understandably, "knackered".

Having entered his first backyard ultra two years ago, Pelvin said he had worked towards achieving that distance ever since.

"I run five days a week ... I run 60km to 100km a week ... [and] I go to the gym the other two days.

"I just obsess over it."

Canterbury’s Jeremy Pelvin after winning the inaugural Arrowtown Backyard Ultra yesterday morning...
Canterbury’s Jeremy Pelvin after winning the inaugural Arrowtown Backyard Ultra yesterday morning. PHOTO: RHYVA VAN ONSELEN
Sutton told the ODT he was "a bit gutted" not to win, but noted he was up against a "strong, strong guy" in Pelvin.

"He hung in there longer than what I could.

"That’s half the thing with these backyards — you just don’t know how people are feeling, if they’re injured or just trying to do a personal best."

Sutton also ended with a personal best of 49 laps.

Event organiser Brandon Purdue said it was an "incredible" effort from the pair, who were running on their own for about eight hours.

The hot favourite, Sam Harvey, of Christchurch, dropped out at 34 laps, Mr Purdue said.

While he looked strong early on, it was a "big ask" given he competed at the world championships, in the United States, three weeks ago where he ran 91 laps (610km).

Another entrant, Glenn Tomlinson, reportedly fell asleep while running and hit a tree, forcing him to pull out just before midnight on Sunday.

The last woman standing was Queenstown’s Brooke Thomas, who retired after 37 laps (248.27km).

Mr Purdue said she had proved she was "an incredible athlete".