The Capital Backyard Ultra will be held in Lorton, VA, a suburb of Washington, DC. At Capital our goal has always been to hold a race for a small group of runners that we can help achieve their backyard goals. With a maximum capacity of 65 runners, our experienced staff and volunteers will be there to support you every yard. We like to think of our race as a “dress rehearsal” for Big’s- in fact, most of our staff has prior experience at Big’s, and you’ll see several familiar faces if you claim an At-Large entry to run with the Big Dogs in 2023.
Note: There are no Silver Ticket races for 2023. However, any runner gaining an at-large entry in 2023 will receive $500 toward their entry and travel to the 2023 Individual World Championships. If there are no at-large entries achieved, the winner will receive this prize, along with a super sweet finisher’s award!
There will be two different loops at Capital. The DAY LOOP will be used from 6am-8pm, and will be on horse trails at Meadowood Special Recreation Management Area. The NIGHT LOOP will be on a paved bike path on the other side of Gunston Rd. and will be run from 8pm-6am.
The terrain for the day loop will be flat, open field for 0.7mi, and a mix of dirt and crushed gravel bridle trails on the remainder of the course.
Averaging Strava, Coros, and Suunto, elevation gain is 300-350ft/loop for the daytime course.
After crossing Gunston Rd, the night loop will be held on a paved bike path.
The night loop is rolling but mostly flat, with approx. 75 feet of elevation gain/loss per loop.
Mary Kwaitkowski, who crewed her brother Dave and father Rick at the 2022 Capital Backyard Ultra, put together this incredible video. Though there will be some changes in the Start/Finish area for 2023, the course and format will be the same, and this should give a good feel for the race. Thanks also to Larry Kelley, who provided the amazing drone footage!
For 2023 we have a brand new shelter, and are currently sorting out the layout, but camping will be free the night before for runners and their crew and all athletes will have easy access to the starting corral.
Parking will be on site.
Whether you make the National Team by winning a Silver Ticket or through an at-large entry, Capital is the place to put up big miles and make the team. The course, with its runnable rolling day loop and paved night loop, is tailored for high mileage performances. In addition, our kitchen is staffed by two professional chefs who have also run some of the toughest 100 milers out there, so they know how to take care of you. Not to mention the tutu-clad Bullies, who will be waiting with a selection of food/smoothies as you finish your loop. But most importantly, you will be in a field with other experienced backyard runners who can push you to high miles. In the Backyard, you can only be as good as your next best competitor!
The Capital Backyard Ultra will begin at 8am on Saturday, May 25, 2024, and proceed until only one runner is remaining.
The format is a 4.167 mile loop that will begin on the hour, every hour. Three minutes before the start of each loop (three minutes before the top of the hour) three whistles will be blown. Two minutes before the top of the hour, two whistles will be blown. One minute before the top of the hour, one whistle will be blown. A bell will ring signifying the start of each round. All runners continuing must be present when the final bell rings.
As stated above, all runners must be in the race corral at the start of the hour, or they will not be allowed to continue. They are not allowed to exit the course except to use the porta potty, until they complete the loop. It’s very simple. However ”Simple” does not equate to “Easy.”
The last runner must complete one additional loop to be named the winner. All other runners are DNFs, but they will know that they have truly reached the limit of their endurance. The “winner” will not have this satisfaction but will have another opportunity to find their limit at Big’s in October.
Aid for this event is mostly self-sufficient. Ice, water, and electrolyte drink will be provided to the runners. Real food options will be available starting at noon on Saturday.
With a newly constructed pavilion, the runner canopies are protected from the elements, and no runner will be more than a 5-10 second walk from the starting line!
Crews will be allowed for the duration of the event.
Entry for 2024 will open June 18, 2023, and entry will be rolling. To enter, register on Ultrasignup and place your name on the waitlist. Any runner with a 100 mile finish or who has run the event in a prior year will receive an invitation until the race reaches 60 runners. Bronze ticket winners will also receive entry as they come in. Runners with a 50 mile finish will be offered entry, up until capacity is reached, beginning December 1, 2023. You must accept the invitation to be entered in the race.
The entry fee for 2024 will be $200. Please note that due to the small number of runners and the costs associated with putting on a top-notch event, we cannot offer refunds.
More information, including aid station info, where to stay, maps, and elevation profiles will be posted on this site. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please send me a message, and I will get back to you!
10702 Harley Rd, Lorton, VA 22079