Life is all about testing your limits, right? If you’re less than enthralled by your community’s annual 5k, maybe it’s time for you to up the ante and register for one of the 10 toughest endurance events across the globe. Check them out here:
1. The Yukon Arctic Ultra
The Yukon Arctic Ultra is a series of races that take place in February beginning in Whitehorse, Yukon. It bills itself as being the toughest ultra in the world. You’ve got three disciplines to choose from: foot, mountain bike, or cross-country skis. You can choose the 100 mile race, the 300 mile race, or the 430 mile race. Each follows the Yukon Quest Trail. Bring your long johns, because racers often face temperatures of -50 plus windchill.
The 4-Desert is a series of four 155-mile footraces taking place in deserts across the globe: the Atacama Crossing,Chile; the Gobi March, China; the Sahara Race, Egypt; and the Last Desert,Antarctica. The races take place over seven days with tents, water, and medical assistance provided each night for the competitors.
3. Race Across America
The Race Across America is a cycling race that stretches more than 3,000 miles, from the California coast to the Maryland coast. The race has no stages; it is a nonstop event. The winner each year takes slightly over a week, so you’d better start practicing.
4. Badwater Ultramarathon
The Badwater Ultramarathon is a 135-mile footrace beginning 279 feet below sea level in Death Valley and finishes at an elevation of 8360 feet. It takes place in July, when the temperatures are at their most extreme, and few people are able to finish the race each year.
5. Tor Des Geants
The Tor Des Geants is a 205-mile footrace taking place in Italy’s Aosta Valley in September. The race must be completed in less than 150 hours and only about 60% of competitors make it. The route takes you over 25 mountain passes and 30 alpine lakes.
6. Marathon des Sables
The Marathon des Sables is a six-day, 156-mile ultra marathon that takes place in southern Morocco, through the Sahara Desert. Temperatures are consistently over 100 degrees, and the rules of the race require you to carry everything you’ll need for the race on your back.
7. The Barkley Marathons
The Barkley Marathons is a 100-mile race and a 60-mile fun run through the Tennessee wilderness. It consists of one 20-mile loop with no aid stations except for water. Throughout the race, competitors have to find 10 books throughout the course and rip out a page from each one. Most don’t finish before the cut-off time. The whole race is limited to just 35 racers; you have to write an essay in order to be considered.
8. The Arctic Circle Race
The Arctic Circle Race is a 99-mile cross country ski race that spans three days across Sisimiut, Greenland. Racers get to sleep in heated tents complete with massages and ski-waxing. Every year, many amateurs compete alongside professional skiers.
9. Jungle Ultra
The Jungle Ultra is a 143-mile race through mountain passes, jungle trails, and village tracks in the Amazon Jungle of Peru. Throughout the race, competitors are completely self-sufficient, carrying tents, food, water and additional supplies. Humidity levels reach near 100%. It’s not outrageous to spot jaguars, pythons, and monkeys along the race.
10. La Ruta de los Conquistadores
La Ruta de los Conquistadores is a multi-stage, 250-mile mountain bike race that crosses Costa Rica from the coast of the Pacific to the coast of the Atlantic. The race tests bikers with over 8000 feet of elevation gain and several intense climate changes. Competitors have just 12 hours to complete each of the three stages.