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New Big Dog Backyard-style ultra trail run arrives in Gatineau hills

Mad Trapper scheduled for June 22-24

Eastern Canada is getting a new Barkley Marathons-inspired ultramarathon event in the Gatineau area and it’s happening next month.

The Mad Trapper Backyard Ultra will be held June 22-24 at the Ark in Denholm, Quebec, 40 minutes north of Ottawa, Ont., and 20 minutes north of Wakefield, QC. The trails are all on private land.

The event is created by Mike “Mad Trapper” Caldwell, who takes inspiration from Lazarus Lake, the bearded wonder behind the legendary sufferfest dubbed the Barkley Marathons, as well as another epic grinder, called the Big Dog Backyard Ultra in Tennessee.

“I've always wanted to host an ultra here, but with only 10 km of trail at my disposal, I didn't know how that would be possible,” says Caldwell. “Then I heard about the Big's Backyard Ultra format and realized that my terrain is almost exactly like that terrain and perfect for this type of event.”

The format in question sees participants running laps instead of one large course. Every hour, on the hour, racers toe the start line to a 6.71km trail loop (4.17 miles).

“Racers are welcome to approach the start line as many times as their mind and body will allow.
The race does not end until there is only one,” Caldwell explains. “Meaning, the last lap of the race is run by one solo runner. If that individual can complete the lap in less than the one-hour cutoff, then he or she is deemed ‘the only one,’ the winner, the lone finisher. Every other participant in the race is "awarded" a DNF!”

Caldwell borrowed the Lake method when it comes to running night laps.  

“Similar to Big Dog's race, we'll be running our night laps out and back on the road. Laz does it because of the poisonous snakes on his property. I'm doing it because Laz did it and because it will give the racers a bit of a mental break at night,” says Caldwell. “I don't want technical terrain to cause people to drop out. I want the loss of their desire to live to be the reason!

Caldwell lived in Leadville, Colorado for four years and paced racers for the Leadville 100 and Hardrock 100 before moving to the Gatineau hills. He’s always wanted to do an ultra up here, but with limited kilometres of trails available, he didn’t think it was possible until he caught wind of what Lake was doing with his races.

For the first year of the event, registration will be capped at 50 runners to make sure it goes off without a hitch. For more information go here.

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