On October 25, Harvey Lewis was the final runner standing on the 2023 Large Canine’s Yard Extremely, having lined 450 miles in 108 hours, surpassing the earlier yard world document alongside the way in which.
The race started at 7 a.m. native time on Saturday, October 21, in Tennessee. Runners tackle a 4.166667-mile loop, known as a “yard” in yard ultrarunning, beginning each hour. Athletes run two routes: a path loop through the day and a highway loop at night time. Runners are eradicated when they’re unable to complete the loop inside the time restrict or they elect to cease. This continues till there may be one runner left standing.
A few weeks later, we caught up with Harvey to listen to how his restoration goes, what the expertise was like from his perspective, and his ideas on how for much longer he may have stored working if wanted.
iRunFar: Congratulations in your win! It’s a couple of weeks later now, how has your restoration been?
Harvey Lewis: Thanks a lot. Truthfully, I simply really feel my ribs are a bit of bruised, however aside from that I really feel actually nice and mentally I’m actually excited concerning the prospects that Large’s opened up when it comes to pushing even additional limits. So, I’m feeling very properly.
iRunFar: That’s nice to listen to. Did you may have a selected technique in thoughts going into the race — and did you follow it or did issues evolve otherwise?
Lewis: Yeah, I wished to be as relaxed as attainable for so long as attainable. It’s considered one of my mantras to constantly devour energy and I eat all vegan meals. I actually imagine it has a profit as a result of I hardly ever get sick, an upset abdomen, and I can devour a variety of energy — consuming every kind of issues from cookies and chips to soups and noodles, pad Thai, and muffins — every kind of meals.
Then there’s a very nice camaraderie between the runners. Despite the fact that it was a really aggressive group, I imply simply an unimaginable subject, it was enjoyable to attach with completely different folks. I attempted to be low key about issues and laid again, but additionally take pleasure in chatting with folks when the chance got here up. Then additionally taking within the good setting. Tennessee in late October is a stupendous fall. You’ve got the altering leaves and the way in which that the daylight enters the forest, you get a variety of golden colour.
It’s important to be aware of each step. Not as a lot on the highway, for the 13 hours out and again — however within the path portion — I’m usually very aware of my environment and scanning in entrance of myself. Even when I’m chatting with somebody, I do my perfect to not take my thoughts and my eyes off of the path, as a result of then normally you’re on the bottom.
There was a snake sooner or later. The Mexican runner in entrance of me jumped over the snake, after which I made this — I appeared like a cat or one thing — goofy transfer as a result of I didn’t know if it was a copperhead. The copperhead snake, they’re venomous they usually mix into the leaves. I did see a pleasant lime inexperienced snake, it was pleasant, it didn’t hassle me. However there are some rattlesnakes round Laz’s [Lazarus Lake/Gary Cantrell’s] property, so you must be a bit of cautious the place you’re stepping.
iRunFar: I’m positive that will get difficult when sleep deprivation kicks in.
iRunFar: Did you may have a sleep technique — or I suppose extra of a napping technique — and the way properly did that work?
Lewis: Sure. Truly, I went to this Runningman competition that was actually the Tuesday earlier than the race. I’m actually making an attempt to hone my sleeping technique, and I met Todd [Anderson], who owns an organization, Dream Restoration. He gave me a masks and earplugs, and he recommended that I take two deep breaths after which exhale and try this 10 occasions to calm the nervous system.
So, I attempted to put down through the night time loops. The primary night time, I used to be getting to put down for possibly 10 minutes, however I actually wasn’t falling asleep an excessive amount of. I used to be simply mendacity there with my eyes shut.
Truly, it wasn’t till the fourth night time that I actually acquired to the mode the place I may go to sleep for a minute or two, as a result of I used to be working 55-minute loops, so it wasn’t a variety of time to sleep. Then the fifth day as properly, I used to be capable of say, ‘Hey, I’m going to take a one-minute nap,’ after which go to sleep.
iRunFar: The format of the race is tough as a result of it’s straightforward, in a approach. I’m positive the primary few laps for everybody should really feel straightforward, however was there a turning level the place you began to really feel the pinch?
Lewis: Yeah, it relies upon. You undergo waves of it feeling harder. Truthfully on this race this 12 months, I used to be extra drained in day one and day two than I used to be in 2021.
The night time earlier than the race this 12 months, I had one of many three worst nights of sleep I’ve ever had earlier than a race. I may solely go to sleep for 3 hours, I used to be too wound up mentally. In order that was not an effective way to enter the race.
There have been intervals the place I felt drained on the second night, the fourth night, and in day 5. However I at all times needed to work by means of these difficulties and set up the motivation and the vitality to proceed ahead.
iRunFar: While you acquired to the final half day, how did that really feel? There have been completely different milestones, like getting previous the prior world document, after which into the final three left standing and the final two.
Lewis: Yeah, I felt like a clock. I stored on transferring alongside. I felt like, I’ll simply carry on going, and finally each lap or two, it was a mathematic equation that another person would drop off.
It stored on going that approach. Nevertheless it was very attention-grabbing watching different runners and seeing how they reacted after which making an attempt to carry the road.
I had a very good crew chief, Judd Poindexter, and he was actually good at anticipating what I used to be going to wish to have when it comes to gas.
Additionally, there was heat climate, I believe the warmth index was about 80 [degrees Fahrenheit]. I might purposely simply come again and dump water over my head. I laid on ice. I’m actually good with sizzling climate races, I had publicity working throughout the most popular locations on the earth with Badwater Ultramarathon 12 occasions, so I can anticipate the right way to cool my physique, however I believe everybody thought I used to be useless.
iRunFar: This can be a difficult query, however how lengthy extra do you suppose you’d have been prepared and capable of keep going if Ihor Verys had stayed going as properly?
Lewis: It’s a wild thought. It’s actually superb. I appeared to get into some type of frequency on the fourth night time the place I may simply go perpetually, and it’s a very wild factor. I positively suppose it was attainable we may have gone by means of that complete night time.
However then once more, it’s arduous to know as a result of your mind will get right into a sure mode. It’s completely different from the traditional human mode. As quickly because the race was over, an hour later my physique had cooled down, and attending to the tent about 20 meters away was laborious. However if you’re into that mode of being, it attracts on this particular vitality that’s deep inside us. There are powers that exist to push us past what appears cheap.
I believe that it’s attainable I may have stored on going during that subsequent night time. I used to be transferring very properly, I didn’t have any accidents, I used to be constantly fueled by good vegan meals. Then it might’ve introduced us again to the path once more. The query would’ve been — how would we have now responded to the path the following day? Was that attainable? Then into the sixth day, what was going to occur?
iRunFar: Issues may have gotten actually attention-grabbing.
Lewis: Very a lot. There was a time the place it was unfathomable that somebody may make it 4 days on Large Canine’s Yard. In fact, even the concept of ending a 3rd day was as soon as thought unimaginable. Right here there have been 22 runners that made it to 300 miles. It’s a stupendous factor.
iRunFar: Yeah, it’s superb. Then lastly, what’s subsequent for you? Have you ever acquired some other objectives in thoughts?
Lewis: Oh yeah, yeah. Properly, since I received Large’s, I can sort of get away with saying that whoever wins will get an automated entry into the Barkley Marathons. That may positively need to be the factor that’s going to maintain me up some nights.
iRunFar: In fact. That may be so cool. Thanks a lot for taking the time to speak to us.