Big’s Backyard Ultra Satellite 2022 – Team Finland

Photo: Jarmo Koskela

Rather than a race report, this is more of a journal entry for historical reasons and/or future reference.

Once again I ran for Finland’s team in the international Big’s Backyard Ultra Satellite race during which 37 countries held individual and team competitions. All teams started at the same time around the world and ran one loop (called a yard) of 6.7 kilometers within 60 minutes. In Finland, the first yard began at 15:00 on gray afternoon in Nummela with a temperature of about 10 Celsius (50 F). At the beginning of the next hour, everyone around the world set out again. The end of the race comes when only one runner remains on each team, meaning ‘last person standing’. Each team was allowed to begin with 15 runners, though Finland began with only 14 due to one runner out with a fever.

In 2020, I covered a total of 31 yards equaling about 207 kilometres. I wrote about that experience at this link. Unfortunately, this year I only made 21 yards, which is about 143 kilometers. Below is what I looked like toward the end of the event.

Photo: Jarmo Koskela

And even more unfortunate is that the last three runners on the Finnish team were forced to stop during yard 32 33 due to a powerful wind and lightening storm that downed several trees on the route as well as some electrical wires. I am glad that the race director is so competent and concerned about the runners’ safety.

This type of race is fairly new in its current format, although the concept of long walking / running races has been around for centuries. As the sport grows in popularity around the world, I wonder if (actually I hope) some safety regulations will be needed to protect runners from pushing themselves beyond the admirable “I am going beyond my boundaries!” into real physical danger.

I am unsure why I only managed 21 yards this year, but I have a few theories. One theory is that I did too much running before the event over the past few months. Another theory deals with the mental side of the race, which is perhaps the most challenging aspect for everyone. Either way, my performance has led me to the following conclusion: I would like to state that I have no intention to try and join the Finnish team next time, but I am happy to be a volunteer at the event. I believe it is time for some fresh faces (with some seasoned veterans too).

I added my introduction video below (3 minutes) in which I discuss my experience and background. At the end of this post, I added a picture of me just after I dropped from the race.

Thank you to the organizers, the other runners in Finland and around the world, the crew, support staff and other volunteers. It was a privilege to have my own wife as my support crew for a few hours. Thank you for reading.

My introduction before the event
After 21 yards. Photo: Karoliina Salmela

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