Running any type of race can potentially be challenging and intimidating; from hometown 5ks to city-based marathons, different events pose different obstacles (sometimes, quite literally), and each will require a specific type of training to increase your chances of success.
There are some, however, who push this notion to its limit, entering races both obscure and, potentially, unfathomably difficult. These events are among the craziest feats in aerobic athletics, and they are intended for only those daring enough to attempt them.
If you feel that you are fit (and brave) enough to take such a leap, here are several races to consider in the future.
Perhaps the most obscure and challenging race in the world, the Self-Transcendence Race has to be experienced to be believed. The race, which is literally 3,100 miles in length, takes place over a period of two months on a single block in Queens, New York. That means runners will have to circle the block over 5,000 times to hit the total distance. This race is described as more of a mental ordeal than a physical one, with “self-transcendence,” or complete mental equilibrium and accomplishment, serving as the ultimate goal.
Located in Wartburg, Tennessee, the Barkley Marathons have been described as “five loops of death.” The 100+ mile long course is comprised of over 120,000 feet of climbing and descending, with one loop equalling about the distance of a standard marathon. To make matters worse, runners must complete the race in under 60 hours to be considered an official finisher; only one person finished in 2017!
When contemplating ideal locations for a multi day race, the Sahara Desert likely ranks in the bottom five possibilities; yet, this has not stopped the organizers of the Marathon des Sables, a 156-mile race through the desert that is often regarded as the toughest foot race in the world. Still, the race remains one of the most popular in the ultramarathon community, and its attendance has shockingly increased since its 1986 inception. That said, perhaps now is the best time to participate.