Welcome to The Governor Backyard Ultra 7-Hour Challenge!

The World's first and only Backyard Ultra based entirely inside the high walls of a prison.

Are you intrigued by the Backyard Ultra (BYU) format, but find the idea of a ‘last-person-standing’ competition overwhelming? The 7 Hour version of The Governor may be the perfect stepping stone into the world of Ultra Running. The rules for the 7 Hour challenge mirror those of the full BYU, with one difference – a pre-determined Ultra Marathon distance of 29.169 miles.
Prepare to challenge those doubts and join the Backyard running community in pushing your limits and embracing the test of endurance. Whether you're a seasoned runner, or taking your first leap into Ultra Marathons, The Governor BYU 7 Hour Challenge welcomes participants of all levels and backgrounds.

Remember, every step you take brings you closer to achieving something incredible. Rise to the challenge, and let's celebrate your achievement together. Become an Ultra Marathoner with The Governor Backyard Ultra 7 Hour Challenge by joining us either on August 24th or October 19th to redefine your limits.

Our focus for this event will be encouragement to participate and the chance of immersing yourself in the BYU community, as well as offering a great training opportunity in an epic location.


Starting at 10 am, all participants will commence their first lap of the 4.167-mile course around the prison site. This will be repeated every hour for a total of 7 hours.


Anyone who is not able to complete the lap within the strict one-hour cut-off will be given the option to reduce the lap distance to start the following lap at the beginning of the next hour.

All participants will receive one of our beautiful Scottish Oak medals made by our partner charity, The Workshop Aberfeldy.

The Governor 7 HR BYU

Dates: August 24th and October 19th, 2024

Start Time: 10:00

Distance each hour: 4.167 Miles

Total Distance: 29.169 Miles

Ascent each hour: 112 Metres

Age Limit: 18 years & over

Entry Fee: £50.00 - £60.00

The following is strictly prohibited at HMP Hellfire:

1. Lighting fires

2. Smoking

3. Consuming Alcohol 

4. Shortcuts

5. Plotting to escape

6. Betting on animal fights

7. Prostitution

8. Gunfighting

9. Bare knuckle boxing

10. Brewing Moonshine

ADDRESS: Hellfire Events at The Citadel, Citadel Road, Dover, Kent, CT17 9DP

The Governor Backyard Ultra & 7 Hour Challenge

The Governor's Backyard Ultra, centered around HMP Hellfire, features two loops of the upper fortress and a single loop within the high walls of the citadel's revetment. With a terrain split of 50% grass and 50% concrete, and a total ascent of 112 meters per lap, participants will experience a diverse and challenging course.

Frequently asked questions

Below is a list of answers to questions.  If the answer to your question is not listed below, please send us an email: info@hellfireevents.com 

Are there finance options available?

Yes, you can spread the cost of entry if you book directly through our booking system - Eventrac.


Are walking / Running poles permitted?

No, in keeping with the rules of a Backyard Ultra, running aids are not permitted.


What facilities are available in Race HQ?

There will be toilets, microwaves, boiling water, cold drinking water, tea and coffee, sanitary products and bins available in Race HQ.  There will be a small number of tables available.  We suggest you bring your own chairs, cutlery and food.  This is a self-supported race, so please bring anything else you think you might need.  If you have any questions at all, please email info@hellfireevents.com.


Is fancy dress permitted?

Due to course restrictions and the fact you will be running in close proximity with other runners, we would discourage the use of fancy dress.  We strongly discourage large costumes, due to space available on some parts of the course.  If you do wish to run in fancy dress, please email info@hellfireevents.com to discuss prior to race day.


What happens if I'm unable to finish the lap within the 60 minute time limit?

Participants must start every lap with the intention of completing the full 4.167 miles, however there will be an opportunity to reduce the distance of each lap by approximately 1 mile. This will be determined on a lap by lap basis.  This is to ensure that runners can participate for the entire of the event.


Why is there a 60 minute cut off each lap?

In keeping with the rules of the Backyard Ultra format, each new lap must start on the hour, every hour.  


Must I run for 7 consecutive hours/laps, or can I space them out with breaks?

This event will only run for the first 7 hours of The Governor main event, so all 7 laps must be completed consecutively.


Is the course hilly?

The entire course is undulating, including 4 short, sharp hills which give participants the perfect excuse to have a nice walk.


What kind of shoes do you recommend?

The course is made up of grass and tarmac, so we recommend a trail/road crossover.


Will you provide food and drink for participants?

As part of the Backyard Ultra format, this event will be self-supported, so any nutrition will need to be brought with you and left at Race HQ along with the rest of your kit. We will provide clean drinking water as well as tea and coffee.  


Can I bring a crew with me?

Yes, you can bring along a crew, however we do ask that no more than 2 people are in Race HQ with you at any one time, this is to minimise overcrowding.


Are we allowed to explore the site?

A substantial area of the site is currently not safe for public access.  For this reason, access for everyone involved in the event will be limited to key locations.


Can I bring my dog?

Spectators are allowed to bring dogs, however dogs are not permitted to run any part of the course, nor are they permitted inside Race HQ.  


Is there free parking at the Citadel?

Yes, there is ample parking directly outside of the Citadel.


Where is the Citadel?

The Citadel is located on Citadel Road, Dover, Kent CT17 9DP.


Will my image appear on the internet?

Yes, we will be actively encouraging people to document their efforts on social media.  We will also be posting images ourselves.

Follow us on Facebook - Instagram - LinkedIn 


Can I invite people along to spectate?

Yes, absolutely.  We will be creating spectator areas with seating.  Please note that only participants and their crew are allowed within Race HQ.


What time does registration open?

Registration opens at 08:00 we advice you arrive early. 


Will there be food and drink available to purchase?

Yes, there will be the opportunity for spectators and crew to purchase snacks and drinks.  Runners will be unable to leave Race HQ between laps. 


Why is your company called Hellfire Events?

The company was named after its location; Hellfire Corner.


Can I drop out?

Yes, if you feel unable to continue at any point, you may drop out of the event.  Re-entry will not be allowed if you change your mind after the next lap has started.


Can I do more than 7 laps if I change my mind on the day of the event?

No, we will not have the administrative capabilities to make changes on the day of the event.  However, you will be welcome to sign up for the next full Governor event.


Can I enter with a team name?

Yes, you can enter with the name of your team/running club, however this is not a team event and your results will be listed individually.


Can I raise money for a charity?

Yes, we encourage this.


How will my results be listed?

Everyone entering this event will be listed as DNF, your result will be ranked entirely on the number of laps you complete.


Is the running route inside the prison buildings?

The entire running route is outside, mainly within the high walls of the Citadel's Revetment.


Can I bring a gazebo?

Gazebos are not required as Race HQ is inside.


The Tale of the Governor's Backyard Ultra


In the shadowy depths of HMP Hellfire, where the prison walls rose tall and formidable, there existed a saga woven into the very fabric of despair – the Governor's Backyard Ultra. Long ago, when the iron bars and stone towers held sway over the hearts of men, the mysterious warden, known only as the Governor, sought a test of endurance and resilience to grant reprieve to the most deserving soul.

It is whispered that once a year, beneath the watchful eyes of the moon and the flickering torches, the Governor would summon forth the hardiest and most indomitable inmates. With a glint of determination in his gaze and a promise upon his lips, he declared that he who could endure his test of endurance would earn their freedom and a chance to walk unfettered under the open sky.


The challenge was embraced by the prisoners, each seeing in it a glimmer of hope amidst the shadows of their incarceration. They trained in the darkest corners of the prison yard, their footsteps echoing against the cold, unforgiving stone, dreaming of the day when they would taste freedom once more.

As the Backyard Ultra commenced, the air crackled with anticipation, and the prisoners surged forth into the night, their hearts ablaze with the fire of determination. Through dimly lit corridors and echoing cellblocks, they raced, their breath mingling with the whispers of forgotten souls.


But the path to freedom was fraught with peril, for the prison held secrets dark and treacherous, and not all who dared to traverse its winding corridors emerged unscathed. Some faltered under the weight of their burdens, while others succumbed to the despair that lurked in the shadows.


Yet the Governor watched on, his presence a silent specter looming over the event. With each passing hour, he observed the struggle unfold, 

a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the depths of desperation that lay within the hearts of men.

And when dawn broke at last, casting its golden light upon the world, only one prisoner remained, standing tall and defiant as the victor of the Governor's Backyard Ultra. With a smile upon his lips and a fire in his heart, he stepped beyond the prison gates, a free man once more, his legend destined to endure through the ages, bearing the Governor's pardon as a symbol of his newfound liberty.

So let the tale of the Governor's Backyard Ultra serve as a reminder, dear friends, that even in the darkest of places, the human spirit can soar, and the bonds of captivity can be broken by the strength of determination and the power of hope.

The Governor Backyard Ultra

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