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Six Races That Push Human Limits

I read an article this morning about The Barkley Marathons, a 100+ mile footrace on unmarked trails in Tennessee.  This race is totally insane (read the article…even if your only reason is to have some good dinner table conversation up your sleeve).  The cumulative elevation gain can be as much as 60,000 feet. Only 35 people can start the race each year (and less than 2% of them finish), and the race starts before it even starts, as participants have to figure out how and when to sign up.  And there’s some token quirkiness involved too — participants have to find pages of books along the course and tear them out to prove they followed the correct route.

This article led me to some quick research I’ve been meaning to do for awhile about what the craziest, hardest, and or most bizarre organized physical events across the globe.  Here are a few I either knew about or stumbled across tonight…

  • Siberian Black Ice Race — This race claims to be “longer than England, colder than vodka, and harder than granite.”  It starts in Irkutsk, which sits on the short of Lake Baikal (the deepest lake in the world…and the most freezing, according to my toes) and traverses 379 miles of Siberian tundra on foot.  Participants are required to be self-sufficient throughout the race.
  • Spartan Death Race — Wood chopping and carrying, rock lifting, fire building, and memorization, this 48-hour adventure race works the body and the mind.  Only 10% of competitors finish.
  • The Atlantic Rowing Race — Every two years, rowers race from the Canary Islands to the West Indes.  The next race is slated for December of this year 
  • The Iditarod — This is an 1868km dogsled race across Alaska (that my adorable and insane husband wants to do someday).  With wind chill, temps can get down to -73C, and the event can take up to 15 days (of sitting in raging snowstorms) to finish.
  • Finland’s Wife Carrying World Championships — Male participants carry their wives through a 250-meter course including obstacles.  All to win their weight in beer!

What’s next — airborne flip contests in space?  What’s your take on these races — totally insane or totally awesome?  Do you have any crazy races on your calendar?

And if you’re more into reality than insanity, check out a few I mentioned last week.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Joan #

    Hasn’t Sean signed up for one of them yet? How about te wife carrying?

    March 29, 2013

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