These days, it seems that running a marathon just isn’t enough. Instead, people are competing in extreme obstacle courses and running in weather conditions that a polar bear couldn’t even handle.
Curious, and keen to start training for your own extreme marathon? Here are 5 hard core races that will have you glad that you’re on your couch at home!
Touted as a world leader in obstacle racing, the Spartan Race is a worldwide phenomenon with four different races for four different skill groups. However, don’t scoff at the 7k race – competitors at all levels have to drag concrete blocks, throw spears, and face gladiators at the end (be afraid…). For the more brave of heart, the Spartan Beast spans over 20km and finishes off with a battle against the “Beast” (hopefully, this is metaphorical).
With the tagline “probably the toughest event on the planet”, Tough Mudder has a reputation of being one of the craziest obstacle courses around. Designed by the British Special Forces, Tough Mudder features Berlin Walls, electric shocks, and even walks through fire. On the bright side, the website is packed with training tips to help you – don’t try this one unless you’re planning to train hard for it (including plenty of Body Pump classes and protein shakes!), or you’ll run the risk of being very embarrassed on race day.
Antarctic Ice Marathon
Held in November every year, the Antarctic Ice Marathon features a 100km race in sub-zero temperatures. Recommended only for the world’s most hardcore athletes, participants run under 24 hours of persistent sunlight and climb snowy hills with the wind beating against their faces. At a whopping €10,500, this is a race whose price matches the level of skill needed.
The Great Wall Marathon
Compared to sub-zero conditions, the Great Wall Marathon may seem like a walk in the park, but it is far from that. With a 7km fun run (3km of fun seems more feasible…), half marathon, and full marathon, you’ll run up and down the steps of this World Heritage site and see spectacular views – if you can still breathe, that is! Participants can also purchase a Great Wall marathon tour as well – at US$1,300, you’ll receive entry into the race, 5 nights in a hotel, and a tour of all the city’s iconic sights.
The Pikes Peak Marathon
“A journey to the top and perhaps back.” That’s something no normal person wants to hear, but the Pikes Peak Marathon runners love it. The race starts out like any other mountain run, but before you know it, the tone quickly changes – participants must run 13 miles and gain around 8,000 vertical feet in altitude. After runners reach 12,000ft in altitude, it can take over 30 minutes to complete one mile for sheer lack of air. That’s dedication.
Author bio: Ursula Hopkins is a writer who will probably just stick to fun runs, thank you very much.