The Riverhead Backyard ReLaps Ultra

29th March 2025

Who will be New Zealands’ Last Person Standing?

Complete one 6.7km lap within an hour, restart again on the hour….continue…until only one person is left to complete a lap.

Backyard Ultra is a type of ultramarathon where participants run laps of a set course of 6.706 metres (4.167 miles) and they must finish each loop in less than an hour. The race restarts each hour with all those that finished the previous lap on time.  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 (Did Not Finish). The strange distance is because the distance for 24 laps is equal to 100 miles.

This awesome film from Find Your Feet Films gives a great narration of what the backyard ultra format is all about, while following the 2023 Riverhead ReLaps Backyard Ultra. Who better to narrate such a film than, Backyard Ultra Founder, Lazarus Lake, who attended the event. Laz shares his thoughts on what it takes to compete and succeed in the Backyard.


Summary of the Riverhead Backyard ReLaps Ultra

  • Starting at 9am Saturday 29th March 2025
  • Runners will start a 6.71 km (4.17 mile) on the hour, every hour
  • Runners must finish each lap within 1 hour
  • The next lap starts on the hour every hour after that
  • This continues until only one runner can complete the lap within the 1 hour time limit
  • Runners are warned of the upcoming starts with a whistle 3, 2 and 1min before the hour/start
  • Any runner not in the starting corral for any lap is not eligible to continue and is recorded as DNF (did not finish)
  • Any runner who fails to finish a lap is recorded as DNF (did not finish)

How long is this likely to go on?

Past Riverhead Backyard ReLaps Ultra Events have been won by:

  • 2024 Stuart Lynch 43 loops (289km)
  • 2023 Sam Harvey 33 loops (221km)
  • 2022 no winner, as the last 2 failed to complete the loop in time
  • 2021 Chris Bisley did 38 loops (255km)
  • 2019 Katie Wright did 30 loops (201km)

The New Zealand Backyard Ultra event record is 50 loops (335km) set by Jeremy Pelvin at the Arrowtown Backyard Ultra in November 2023.

The New Zealander with the most loops run is Sam Harvey with 101 Loops at the Dead Cow Gully Backyard Ultra in June 2023.

Internationally the record is 108 loops (724km) set by Harvey Lewis from USA at the Backyard Ultra – World Championship October 2023. Event Director of the United States event and founder of this type of event Laz Lake is renowned for dreaming up events to test people’s limits.  During the US event Laz posts updates on the Facebook page throughout the event and he sums it all up as he wrote during the final hours in a past event… hour 66: and then there were two with the passing of gavin woody, it all comes down to johan steene and courtney dauwalter one will get everything and one will get nothing. life is not fair in big’s backyard. but you know the deal when you sign up.

The Road to Big’s (the World Champs of Backyard Ultra)

With the popularity of the backyard format there are now hundreds of backyard ultra events now.  Because of this, there is no longer any golden tickets directly into the Big Dog’s Backyard which is considered the World Champs of this format event.  Instead there is a pathway as detailed on the Backyard Ultra Website here, but recreated below:

We run in the backyard for many different reasons. We run because it is fun. We run to socialize with our friends (old and new). We run to go further than we have ever gone before….

But, for many of us, we run because we want to eventually go to Big Dog’s Backyard, and pit ourselves against the best in the world. And why should we not harbor such ambitions? In the backyard, anyone can win. One of the fundamental imperatives for any sport is to leave the outcome in the hands of the athlete. And so we want it to be in the backyard. Your road to Big’s is below. Along the way is the opportunity to represent your country on a national team, to compete for a national championship… and, of course, a clear path to reach the world championships in Big Dog’s Backyard.

In summary, you will find in the Brackets (rounds) for your country a list of Bronze and Silver Ticket events. The winners of the Silver Ticket events will have a place on the national team. New Zealand does not have any bronze events because we only have 3 silver events, there is no need.

In addition to the places on the team secured by winning a Silver Ticket event, there will be places for At-Large additions to the team.  As an example, the 15 man US team will have 6 places determined by the winners of 6 Silver Ticket events. The other 9 places will be determined by the top results on the At-Large list. A good result in any event you run during the qualifying period (which began August 16, 2022 and ends August 15 2024) can place you on that list. The top 9 performances, outside the winners of the 6 Silver Tickets, will earn those runners a place on the team.

The World Team Championships will start on October 15, 2024.

You will be both representing your country as a member of the team (ALL members are scoring members) and competing for the individual National Championship.  The last Team World Championships were first held in October 2022, with USA winning, the Belgium second, and Australia third.

World Individual Championships

The top 50 winners of the national championships will secure berths at the World Individual Championships to be held at Big Dog’s Backyard starting October 2025. In addition to those champions, there will be an additional 25 runners selected from the At-Large list… the top performances of the previous 2 year qualifying period (August 16, 2023 to August 15, 2025).



The event is in Riverhead Forest. The event centre is near the corner of Ararimu Valley Road and Barlow Road, show with the red pin below or ……[HERE]



If you’re looking at this on a mobile device you might need to swipe left to see the details of the table

Friday Night Tent set-up

Registration at the venue

& Tent set-up

 From 6:00am
Saturday 29th March

Race Briefing





when the last person is standing and completes a lap (Sunday or Monday maybe?)



Come see us at the event base to register, once you’re all set up.  We’ll give you your race bib and some goodies.  You’ll be given you DNF mug to ceremoniously label with a provided sticker and place in your numbered spot on the DNF board – for collection only after you DNF.


Please ensure you come and see the timing desk when you finally cannot go on any further.  We’ll DNF you in the system. Take your DNF photo, hand out your DNF Mug and DNF certificate (which includes the number of laps completed and DNF photo we’d just taken).  Perhaps Laz might even sign it!  Oh and there’s the finish beer from Hallertau!

Once you’ve finished your event you’re welcome to stay at the venue and in your tent site, cheering on the other ultra and/or relay runners.  In fact, we encourage it!



The course will be a 6.7km lap through a mix of commercial pine forest.  We have tweaked the course a little to produce a new course that avoids the large hill up to Anzac Road which is storm damaged and susceptible to becoming a mud slide in rain.  Now the course is mainly on the lower valley floor.  And this means we have the vert per loop down to around 90m a lap.

Lap times start and finish under the start/finish gantry.

You are welcome to have a crack around the course at any time.  Depending what the average of a few people’s runs are we might have to tweak it a tiny bit to get it as close as possible to 6.7km but this will be the gist of the course.  There’s about 150m of trail and a bridge to build/install at about the 5.2km mark, but if you have the GPX downloaded it’s easy enough to follow your nose as it is now, and you shouldn’t even need to get your feet too wet. We’ll build that a bit closer to the event.

On event weekend it will be a fully marked course with heaps of arrows, reflective tape etc to show the way.  We can’t do this too early otherwise it gets knicked!

The course Strava segment is loaded – click on the image below.

Alternatively look at the course in more detail and download a GPX file…[HERE]




  • Runners must finish the lap within 1 hour
  • The next lap starts on the hour every hour after that (signaled by the bell)
  • Participants must be in the starting corral at the bell
  • Warning will be given at 3, 2, and 1 minutes prior to start
  • Runners may not leave the course until each loop is completed  (once the horn goes you must complete a loop before any support is given/taken)
  • No non-competitors on the course (including eliminated runners).
  • You are not to receive support or pacing from relay runners – gear, food or liquids.  All that is allowed is a quick verbal encouragement as they pass you or you pass them.  Both yourself and the relay runners will be disqualified if this rule is broken.
  • No personal aid/support during a lap (the one aid/support location is the event base)
  • No artificial aids (including poles!).  Music is okay but we ask that you’re aware of other runners so as not to hold people up, especially once the relay starts because they fly past the Ultra runners.
  • Slower runners – please allow faster runners to pass
  • The winner is the last person to complete a lap when all others have given up
  • All others are technically DNF
  • If no runner can complete one more lap than anyone else, there is no winner
  • Please report to the timing area when you decide you can no longer go on
  • No cats, dogs or other domesticated animals allowed on the course with runners.


Because of the lap nature of the course there is no compulsory gear required.



Silly we have to have this talk but after feedback from past years……..

Poop:  Due to the public nature of the forest we use, and respect for other users, there is no poos allowed on course.  Please use the portaloos on site at the event base for this.   


  • For women we will have a portaloo on course at around half way thru the loop – for WOMEN USE ONLY!!  This is for a quick wee only no poop cause then its unfair on the men who have to poop at the event base.  Men caught using this portaloo will be disqualified.
  • For men please use the forest but we ask that you take at least a few steps off the main run route please, to show some respect to the other participants.  They don’t need to see your junk  – aw gross😲  If we get word of someone not doing this, you may be disqualified – we want an environment where all runners feel safe and respected.



We recommend the Riverhead Backyard ReLaps Ultra runners have support crew. This is limited to a maximum of 2 people at a time (based at the runners support tent).  We’re happy to relax this a little after 12 hours and the numbers are reduced and there is more space. General supporters can cheer/encourage/kick up the arse at the finish line etc but can not join the runner in their tent. This is to prevent overcrowding on the course around the tents.



We welcome spectators to come and have a look and support all the runners, however this is at the event centre only.  No spectators are allowed out in the forest, as they may be deemed support for a runner and may result in that runners disqualification.

Please be aware of the limited resources we have had to bring on site, e.g. toilets and water which participants have helped pay for so, they should have priority.

No dogs are allowed in the forest or at the event centre please.


There will be no aid stations or any water provided out on the course – you’re on your own, in this regards, when you’re out on the lap…its only 6.7km! There will be water available for participants at the event base.  We are cup free so please bring your own vessel for holding water.


Each ultra individual is allowed a roughly 4m x 4m site within the event base. This will be marked out with tape.  Due to safety and ground conditions no vehicles will be allowed to be parked in the tent site area (there are a couple of campervans that have made contact but they will be on the edge of the tent sites so a bit further away from the corral/start/finish).

On arrival, drop off your gear near to the tent area and then park in the areas allocated for parking. After you’ve parked, return to the tent area to set up your site. Please aim for less than five minutes to have your vehicle in the tent area. 

Feel free to share a tent with others to pool resources. 

We ask in your tent site placement, that you self rank please.  So, if you know you’re doing less than 10 laps, then set up at the back, between 10 and 20 laps in the middle and more than 20 laps at the front closer to the finish & corral. This will save people having to move tents later.

You are able to set up your tent site on Friday from 5pm till 9pm and then anytime from 6am on Saturday morning.  

We highly recommend you bring old carpet or a ground sheet for your tent site.  It’s not lush grass like usual so you need this to keep your tent insides clean and dry!


There is no mains power onsite. We will have a very limited supply of water. We recommend people bring enough water for themselves/their teams.  We will have some available but it’s easier if you all bring your own.

Sorry we do not have power available – please plan accordingly with powerbanks etc. There is no power at the venue. The event crew rely on generators to drive the lights, timing, computers etc so we cannot offer this to participants for fear of overloading the generators.



We have event trucker caps and t-shirts for sale as part of the entry process or our online store HERE.

$20 – Trucker 5-panel Mesh Caps

We wear these caps ourselves and no matter if its a formal cap for wearing out and about or your running cap, these things look good and are quality.

$45 – Commemorative Event Tee (not a running tee but one you wear out and about)

Making use of the fancy event logo these shirts can be worn with pride!

Regular fit, Crew neck, Mid weight, 180 GSM, 28-singles
100% combed cotton (marles 15% polyester)
Neck ribbing, side seamed, shoulder to shoulder tape, double needle hems, preshrunk to minimise shrinkage
Regular fit, Crew neck, Mid weight, 180 GSM, 28-singles
100% combed cotton (marles 15% polyester)
Neck ribbing, side seamed, shoulder to shoulder tape, double needle hems, preshrunk to minimise shrinkage



Probably best to bring cash because mobile reception is patchy, so EFTPOS may not work.

Coffee on the Coast

Barry and his team will be there selling a variety of delicious hot and cold drinks.

They will be at the venue:
Saturday 7-11am depending on demand
Sunday 7-9am depending on demand

As well as the normal range of hots drinks they will be offering range of frappes and smoothies.  And from the fridge, we will have a range of drinks including, Powerades, Water, fizzy drinks (coke, sprite, coke zero, L&P) , Orange Juice, and a selection of snacks including muffins, slices and cookies.



The following are the rules of the event and you will sign your agreement to these during the entry process. Event in the following waiver declaration is known as “Riverhead Backyard ReLaps Ultra & Relay”.

  • I agree to comply with the rules, regulations and event instructions of the Event.
  • At all times competitors must obey the instructions of Race Officials and Police Officers and beware of vehicular transport. Any competitor who fails to obey the instructions of Race officials or the Police will be removed from the Event and disqualified. The race director has the discretion to disqualify competitors.
  • No competitor may use any banned substances with the intent to improve their performance, eliminate the sense of fatigue or for any other purpose. Any competitor serving a ban for banned substances in another sport is not permitted to enter.  The Event Organisers may test any athlete for the use of a prohibited substance at its own discretion – a positive test resulting in disqualification.
  • It is important that all competitors exhibit good behaviour and sportsmanlike conduct, and treat fellow competitors, Event organisers, volunteers and contractors with courtesy and respect. Failure to do so may result in disqualification at any time before, during or after the Event.
  • If a competitor withdraws from the Event they must advise the finish line officials of their withdrawal as soon as possible and prior to leaving the venue.
  • I acknowledge that there are risks involved with participation in this Event and fully realise the dangers of participating in an event such as this and fully assume the risks associated with such participation and my wellbeing during the Event.
  • I understand and agree that situations may arise during the Event, which may be beyond the immediate control of officials or organisers, and I must continually participate in a manner that does not endanger either myself or others.
  • I certify that I am physically fit, have sufficiently trained for participation in the Event and I have not been advised otherwise by a qualified medical person.
  • The Event organisers reserve the right to alter rules, regulations, Event course and venues at any time provided athletes are advised prior to the Event, or if such a change is in the interest of competitor safety.
  • The Event Organisers reserve the right to implement the contingency plan in the interests of competitor safety but will not be held liable for any loss as a result of such a decision. In the event such a decision is made, if the conditions are still deemed to be unsafe, the Event organisers have sole discretion, and may cancel the Event without obligation to refund entry fees.
  • Neither the organisers, the sponsors nor other parties associated with the Event shall have any responsibility, financial or otherwise, for any risk incident that might arise, whether or not by negligence, from any direct or indirect loss, injury or death that might be sustained by me or any other party directly or indirectly associated with me, from my intended or actual participation in the Event or its related activities. I do therefore hereby on behalf of my heirs, executors, administrators and assignees release and forever discharge the organisers, sponsors of, landowners and any and all persons involved in the conduct of the event from any and all liability whatsoever or claims of damages or actions whatsoever (including negligence) in any manner arising out of my participation in the Event.
  • I authorise my name, voice, picture and information on this entry form to be used without payment to me in any broadcast, telecast, promotion, advertising, or any other way pursuant to the Privacy Act 1993.
  • I consent to organisers or suppliers filming me with an aerial quadcopter above or next to me while taking part in the Event.
  • I consent to receiving medical treatment which may be advisable in the event of illness or injuries suffered during the Event.
  • I have if relevant to this Event, made my team members aware of these conditions and have authority to sign on their behalf.
  • I understand that I have rights under the Privacy Act 1993 to access and correct any information held about me.