The Ultimate Physical & Mental Test: Unbelievable Endurance Races Around The World
By Leah Freeman-Haskin
Are you looking for a physical feat that tests the limits of body and mind? That pushes the boundaries of what we think is humanly possible? That will impress all of your followers on Instagram? Whatever your motivation, here are some of the most mind-blowing, extreme endurance races around the world.
The Brutal Triathlon
You may have heard of the Ironman triathlon, but this one takes it up another notch. The Brutal is located in Wales and is twice the distance of the Ironman triathlon with a 4.8-mile swim, then a 224-mile bike ride, followed by a 52-mile run. You read that right. “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough,” the race website says.
The Barkley Marathons
The fact that only 15 people have ever finished this race in its 33-year history says everything we need to know. There is no website for this race and it seems to be a secret as to how you can enter. But if you land a spot, expect to run (or walk) 100 miles through brutal terrain in the mountains of Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee. Racers have 60 hours to finish.
Patagonia Expedition Race
Every Patagonia Expedition Race travels a unique course and past participants are not allowed to tell future competitors what to expect. All that is known is that racers form teams of four and cross glaciers, rivers, mountains, forests, and plains. According to Business Insider, they might kayak, mountain bike, or rock climb, potentially traveling hundreds of miles over multiple days.
If 120 degree temperate doesn’t sound pleasing, maybe Hardrock will better suit you. Located in the San Juan mountains of Colorado, the 100-mile run involves 33,050 feet of climb and 33,050 feet of descent, with an average elevation of 11,186 feet. Racers have 48 hours to complete this snowy, mountainous trek.
Marathon des Sables
The temperate in the Sahara Desert can reach a scorching 120 degrees. This is the location of arguably the toughest foot race on earth, the legendary Marathon des Sables. Competitors brave the heat and powerful wind, sand, and sun to race more than 150 miles to the finish line.
Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race
If you are looking for a truly mental feat, here it is. You can’t lose your thoughts in the changing, scenic surroundings on this racecourse. Racers must complete about two marathons a day circling the same block in Queens. The Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race is put on by followers of Sri Chinmoy, a spiritual leader who taught that athletics could be a form of meditation.
Ready to test your mental and physical abilities off land? Participants of the Vendée Globe sail around the world alone, without stopping or receiving any help. According to Business Insider, “sailors depart and return to Les Sables d’Olonne on the French coast. They sail down the North then South Atlantic, go around Antarctica, cross the Indian and Pacific Oceans, then come back up the Atlantic. The record finish time is held by François Gabart, who returned to port after 78 days.”