How far can you go when there is no finish line? And where do you find the confidence to chase it?
If you’re Harvey Lewis, you don a moniker and let your cognitive ingenuity propel you forward.
Last fall, Harvey captured the international spotlight at Big’s Backyard Ultra in rural Tennessee. The amiable high school teacher shattered a world record and achieved the preternatural feat of running an astounding 450 miles in just 108 hours—more than the distance from DC to Boston.
But—I implore you—don’t let his humility deceive you. Inside Harvey roams a myriad of animalistic tenacity ready to be unleashed at the right moment.
A beloved teacher at Ohio’s Cincinnati School for Creative and Performing Arts, Harvey continues to redefine the limits of human capability. This plant-based ultra-running superstar boasts 27 years of experience in ultras, with a curriculum vitae that includes 115 ultras, numerous podium finishes at Badwater 135, and a five-time USA National 24-hour Team member.
Harvey seamlessly navigates his roles as an educator and elite ultra-runner. In 2008, he retraced the footsteps of a non-violence hero, embarking on Mahatma Gandhi’s historic 241-mile civil disobedience Salt March in India. In 2009, he commemorated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 54-mile march from Selma to Montgomery.
“We are all capable of incredible feats. No matter your pursuits, we can all go so much further than we think.”
– HARVEY LEWIS
Today’s conversation explores all things Big’s—including the reality that Harvey was prepared to run through another night. We delve into his relationship with sleep deprivation, spirit animals, transcendence, and mindset.
Harvey walks us through his unique coach-less approach to training and the why behind his extensive running accomplishments. Part of his why involves racing at the behest of the Brighton Center. This Kentucky-based non-profit supports families with services ranging from education to housing, financial wellness, and substance abuse recovery for women.
In addition to sharing his perspectives, Harvey’s fiancée, Kelly, provides exclusive insights that add texture to his personality and kindness. These include charming details like braking for lightning bugs and hosting popsicle parties. She discusses her ultra-running experiences, participation in the wildly popular Netflix reality show Squid Game Challenge, and more.
I have immense admiration for Harvey. He embodies humility, champions gracefully, and exudes a delightful presence. He is the archetype of a hero that the world needs right now.
Peace + Plants,
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- Connect with Harvey: Instagram | Twitter | Facebook
- Documentary: Like Harvey Like Son
- Backyard Ultra: Individual World Championship October 18, 2025
- YouTube: A day with Harvey Lewis
- CNN: Harvey Lewis set a backyard ultramarathon record by running 450 miles for four and a half days – while barely sleeping
- The Guardian: Ultrarunner Harvey Lewis reaches the end of Lazarus Lake’s endless backyard
- Runner’s World: Harvey Lewis Is the Last-Man Standing and World Record Holder at Big Dog’s Backyard Ultra
- Brighton Center: Who We Are
- Brighton Center: Harvey’s Homestretch
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