Not since World War II has there been such a lacuna in organized sport. For the fan this has proved exquisite misery. That was until last week, when one sporting event joyously popped up to satisfy a public starved for competition.

The Quarantine Backyard Ultra was an ultra-marathon—a race that is longer than a traditional marathon (26.2 miles)—organized by Personal Peak, a Calgary-based running outfit. Using G.P.S. trackers and the conferencing app Zoom, entrants raced against each other despite being in self-isolation. First prize: a golden toilet-paper roll.