BELL BUCKLE, Tenn. — After running non-stop around the same 4-mile loop in Tennessee for nearly four days straight, a teacher from the Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts was the last man standing and the champion of the Big's Backyard Ultra Race.
The race started on Saturday and didn't wrap up until Tuesday evening, when Harvey Lewis claimed victory.
"I was wanting to quit so bad, but also wanting to stay in so bad and I had to have the internal battle on whether or not I was going to continue," said Lewis.
But continue he did, to run a total of 354 miles without pausing for a break.
The race is unique, with different rules than a typical marathon: The goal is to finish a loop of just over four miles in under an hour. Those who make it in time continue and run another loop.
"I honestly feel elated, because I was able to push through areas I never would have dreamed of, even a week ago," said Lewis.
Although he battled with giving up, he said at some point he knew nothing was going to stop him from continuing to run.
"It sounds crazy, but my body submitted," he said. "And I was like 'I'm gonna go as far as it takes.' It's like clockwork and there was nothing that was gonna stop me."
Lewis ultimately ran 85 loops around the track over 85 hours and completed his 85th loop in 49 minutes, 42 seconds. He not only won the race, but also set a new record for most laps and miles in the backyard ultra format.
He said his students at SCPA left him encouraging notes and he hopes when his students see what he's accomplished, they'll recognize that everyone has potential.