The Worlds 12 Most Grueling and Insane Endurance Races

first_img 12 Reasons South Dakota Deserves Your Attention Some people need to compete. Marathons, road races, Tough Mudders — anything to prove their physical and mental mettle. But, sometimes, running just 26.2 miles on asphalt isn’t enough. For those precious, crazy few who demand more, these are 12 of the world’s toughest, most grueling endurance races.Ultra-Trail du Mont-BlancEuropeSteven John/The ManualConsidering the stiff competition, the 100-mile Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc might be the “easiest” race on this list. Given that it attracts more than 2,500 competitors annually, it’s also the least exclusive. Sure, it requires tackling 30,000 feet of technical, ever-changing terrain. But, athletes are rewarded with stunning views while trekking around Mont Blanc through Italy, Switzerland, and France. Still, it’s probably worth getting a few 50-mile ultras under your belt before attempting the UTMB.Hardrock 100ColoradoThe Colorado Rockies boast some of the most breathtaking scenery in the United States. Hikers know that the terrain can also be the most challenging. So, it’s no surprise that a 100.5-mile race through that same terrain seems almost impossible. Runners in the Hardrock 100 (a.k.a. “The Hardrock Hundred”) compete across 66,100 feet of total elevation change (33,050 of ascent, plus 33,050 of descent) with an average 11,000-foot elevation. If the distance alone isn’t punishing enough, suffocating in the ultra-thin level of oxygen at that altitude surely are. Less than 150 applicants are accepted to this event each year.Western States Endurance RunCaliforniaThe Western States Endurance Run — also known as The Western States 100 — lands a spot on this list based on its history alone. This 100-miler through California’s Squaw Valley is reportedly the oldest ultramarathon in the world. Every June, runners start near the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics and finish 100.2 miles west at Placer High School in Auburn. This area of the Sierra Nevada range is stunning, but racing through it is brutal. Contestants must climb more than 18,000 feet and descend almost 23,000. Finishing in less than 30 hours secures a bronze belt buckle, while sub-24-hour runs earn a coveted silver buckle. The conditions are wide and varied along the way, including snow-covered trails, a 30-mile canyon run, and 100-plus degree temperatures.Iditarod Trail 1000 InvitationalAlaskaMost ultramarathons seem like a “leisurely jog in the woods” compared to Alaska’s Iditarod Trail 1000 Invitational. It’s billed as “the world’s longest, toughest race.” That statement is, of course, subjective, but this isn’t for average competitors. Racers must trek across 1,000 miles of some of the harshest terrain on Earth, including gale-force winds, heavy, waist-deep snow, frequent blizzards, mud, snow blindness, and driving rain in sub-freezing temperatures as low as -50°F — alone. There are minimal support crews throughout the entirety of this race. For the final 500 miles, competitors must be 100% self-reliant, packing and lugging all their own gear to the finish. The race is only open to applicants who have completed the ITI 350 and proven their winter survival skills.The Barkley MarathonsTennesseeIt’s been called the race that “eats its young.” Since 1986, only 15 contenders have completed The Barkley Marathons. It’s one of the most challenging ultras in the world, and also the strangest. The details are secretive, almost cult-ish. The exact route is a closely guarded secret, though it was reportedly inspired by the 1977 prison break of Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassin James Earl Ray. The race’s lottery system is designed to accept just 35 contenders each year. All must finish the 100-mile course in less than 60 hours. Unlike other highfalutin races, the application fee is only $1.60. The entry fee depends on whether runners have attempted or completed the race before. Alongside the payment, applicants must also submit items ranging from a license plate to a pair of gold-toe dress socks to a pack of Camel cigarettes (Yes, really).Enduroman Arch2ArcEnglandThe Enduroman Arch2Arc promises to be a triathlon to end all triathlons. Here, it’s less about the terrain and more about the sheer distances involved in each event. The 290-mile endurance race includes an 87-mile run from London’s Marble Arch to Dover, followed by a 181-mile bike ride between Calais and Paris’ Arc de Triomphe, and a final 22-mile swim across the English Channel. Those who do finish average 100 hours to complete the task. In the last year, only 34 competitors have crossed the finish line.Andes Race Chaski ChallengePeruCusco’s first and only ultramarathon pays homage to the long-distance runners of Peru’s ancient Sacred Valley of the Incas. In their day, they served as a “postal” service carrying messages to neighboring villages. The modern-day Andes Race Chaski Challenge is a 100K (roughly 63 miles) run that targets mountain runners who appreciate a good vertical challenge. At an elevation of more than 11,000 feet, the oxygen deprivation is just as punishing as the mountainous terrain. For that reason alone, the challenge is limited to 100 elite runners each year.Marathon Des SablesAfricaThree inches of rain annually, little vegetation, and scorching heat — all reasons few humans live in the Sahara Desert. They also make great reasons for a grueling ultramarathon. The Marathon Des Sables is a seven-day, multi-stage endurance race across Africa’s most famous desert. Entrants must carry their own gear across the 150-mile course with only a single day of rest and recovery. The competition was inspired by Patrick Bauer who trekked more than 200 miles across the Moroccan desert 30 years ago with only the supplies on his back.Polar Circle MarathonGreenlandContrary to its name, Greenland is not green. In fact, it’s covered in some of the world’s largest glaciers and boasts some of the most inhospitable terrain on the planet. All of which makes it the perfect location to run a marathon, right? The Polar Circle Marathon is an elite annual race for the world’s toughest marathoners. Most of the race is run on snow-covered gravel roads while stretches of it cover the country’s vast ice cap. Runners finish north of the Polar Circle in the tiny settlement of Kangerlussuaq where muskoxen outnumber people.Alaska Mountain Wilderness ClassicAlaskaThe Alaska Mountain Wilderness Classic may be the most thankless race on earth. Forget the usual media glamour, the photo opportunities, and the fancy sponsorships, this race is all about the purity of endurance. There are few rules, except that runners must:Be entirely self-reliant and self-supportedCarry all their own food and equipmentRely solely on human power (bikes and kayaks are allowed)Leave no traceArrange their own rescueWhat started in 1982 as a straightforward footrace through the Alaska wilderness has evolved from its original 150-mile course to more elaborate routes of more than 250 miles. Not surprisingly, fewer than 50 people enter annually, and it’s been two decades since every entrant finished.Antarctic Ice MarathonSouth PoleRunners and avid adventurists love setting arbitrary goals. For some marathoners, the ability to claim they’ve run a marathon on every continent is just too enticing. Enter the annual Antarctic Ice Marathon. Every November, the world’s southernmost footrace takes place a few hundred miles off the South Pole. Entrants start from a glacier camp and cross the Ellsworth Mountains. Over the five-day course, runners face steady 10 to 25 mph winds and temperatures that never rise above 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Races and start times are frequently delayed due to the continent’s dangerously unpredictable weather.Jungle MarathonAmazon Rainforest, BrazilIf the frigid Antarctic climate isn’t tough enough for you, Brazil’s Jungle Marathon offers racers the opportunity to test their survival mettle in the wilds of the Amazon rainforest. Entrants choose between two tracks — either 63 miles in four stages or 150 miles in six stages. Of course, the real challenge is not merely to reach the finish line. It’s to survive the massive anacondas, deadly spiders, and every other critter that’s trying to kill you before you get there. It’s a bit like Man vs. Wild, minus the sleeping in Holiday Inns during the commercial breaks.If you’re an ultramarathon newbie, grab a decent hydration pack and check out our guide to running an ultramarathon if you’ve never attempted one before. 14 Best Outdoor Stores in the United States Editors’ Recommendations The Best Men’s Trail Running Gear for Warm Weather A Breakdown of All the Major Types of Car Racing World-Class Runner Caryn Lubetsky Didn’t Run Her First Marathon Until She Was 40 last_img read more

Football New NCAA rules create depth for Ohio State

Urban Meyer watches the 2018 Spring Game from the 50 yard line in Ohio Stadium on April 14. Credit: Nick Clarkson | Social Media EditorAccording to a new rule the NCAA set in place on Wednesday for the upcoming football season, players can now participate in any four games in a single year and still use a redshirt for that season. Still limited to four full seasons in a span of five years, this rule change differs from the rule initially set in place, that players who take one snap in one game have burned their collegiate redshirt for their career.Now, programs like Ohio State have the opportunity to give freshmen in-game experience at any point in the season, allowing coaches to have more depth at the end of the season for postseason play. “Coaches will appreciate the additional flexibility and ability to give younger players an opportunity to participate in limited competition,” Division I council chair Blake James said via press release.Also, if players suffer an early season injury, that could count as their redshirt season, instead of having to spend one season of eligibility on the bench. For Ohio State, this provides an instant opportunity for players in its 2018 recruiting class to get playing time during their first season at the college level. With many opportunities for players in the 2018 class to make a significant contribution during their first season, such as four-star tight end Jeremy Ruckert, four-star defensive tackle Tommy Togiai and five-star athlete Tyreke Johnson — who has been practicing at cornerback since he arrived as an early enrollee — there is one position in particular that could thrive with this new rule being put in place. With J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber slated for the majority of the carries, the Buckeyes have a drop-off in experienced depth at the running back position after Antonio Williams transferred to North Carolina on April 23. Now, two members of the 2018 class, four-star running back Master Teague and four-star running back Brian Snead will battle for playing time as the No. 3 back on the depth chart. A native of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Teague, the No. 11 running back recruit in the country according to the 247Sports composite rankings, arrived at Ohio State as an early enrollee in January. Despite missing his senior season of high school due to an ankle injury, he has been described by both players and coaches alike as a strong and physical back during reps in spring practice. Snead, the No. 3 running back in the 2018 class and the No. 80 player overall in the 247Sports composite rankings, recorded 48 touchdowns during his career at Armwood High School in Seffner, Florida. Along with Snead and Teague, Jaelen Gill, a four-star recruit from Westerville, will join the Buckeyes for the 2018 season as a running back recruit in theory. However, many say that Gill will follow the path of players like Curtis Samuel and Demario McCall as a future h-back at Ohio State. With this new rule put in place for the 2018 season, Urban Meyer and the rest of the coaching staff now have more depth on the roster to utilize throughout the season. read more