April 7, 2020 / 8:06 AM / 2 months ago

American wins golden toilet roll after 63-hour virtual ultramarathon

(Reuters) - American Michael Wardian was the last runner standing in the ‘Quarantine Backyard Ultra’ on Tuesday as the endurance athlete took the title after completing 422km in 63 hours.

With sports events around the world cancelled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event, organised by Personal Peak Endurance Coaching, saw participants running 6.7km every hour with the last person standing declared the winner.

Participants had the option of running indoors on a treadmill or on an outdoors course and were linked via the video conferencing app Zoom throughout.

The race began on April 4 and came down to a battle between Virginia-based Wardian, who was running outdoors, and Czech Republic’s Radek Brunner on his treadmill for the final 15 hours.

Wardian prevailed after Brunner failed to start the 63rd loop when the hourly buzzer went off.

“Radek was pushing me beyond anything both of us have ever done in the past,” Wardian said in a video posted on Facebook.

“It was a real honour and privilege to be a part of something beyond my imagination.”

The 45-year-old said more than 2,500 runners from 50 countries took part.

“I think we all got to enjoy this weekend. I know we are all physically separated at the moment but this brought us together in a way... to share what we love about the world,” he added.

Wardian’s reward was what the organisers described as the “world’s most coveted prize” - a golden toilet paper roll.

Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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