Virtual Last Runner Standing Draws Racers from Around the World

Updated: June 08, 2020 05:25 PM

In a test of endurance, runners took off in the third annual Last Runner Standing challenge Saturday morning. 


Also enduring a pandemic, the annual event was moved online. 

Thanks to the new setup, organizers Andy and Kim Holak were able to participate for the first time, since they're usually busy assisting other runners during the busy event.  

The Holak's ran the official course at Spirit Mountain in Duluth to share it with other runners online. Andy said pacing was one of the hardest aspects of the race.

"It's really hard to run this 4.17 mile loop even with the big hill that we have to climb in like 45 minutes or more. So we're trying to hit about 50 minutes a lap and about ten minutes of rest but it's really slow," said Andy Holak, the race director for Last Runner Standing.

The Holak's set up a snack, rest and technology station at the Grand Avenue Chalet. They're running a Facebook Live and Zoom feed for as long as people are still participating, connecting around 180 runners from the US, Australia, Norway and beyond. 

Running 4.17 miles every hour on the hour, runners raced on treadmills or trail loops closest to their homes. 

Last year's winner completed 129 miles in 31 hours and returned for another year.

"It's a good format, you don't have to be fast. You can be an average runner, come out and do what you can do at this event, push yourself. Everybody's got their own limit and you can find that here," said Brandon Johnson, the 2019 Last Runner Standing champion.

Runners began the test 10 a.m. Saturday morning. Josh Malenius of Hermantown won the 2020 virtual Last Runner Standing race after completing 120.93 miles over 29 hours. Stephanie Simpson of Quebec came in second place. 

The in-person event was postponed to November 14, and registration for that event is still open. 

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