6 Extreme and Unusual Races of the World
This guest post was written by Hollie Mantle
As the new year looms closer, you can almost see most runner minds churning away, thinking about the next goal race. Maybe you are fed up of trying to cut down that stubborn 5k PR, or maybe you are trying to convince yourself that third time is a charm for your BQ qualifier.
Sometimes we just need to step away from those big, time focused goals, and look for something different. Or how about when you have been there, done that, got the T-shirt (in every size, color, and style), what do you do next?
Both scenarios mean it is probably a good time to look for something completely different to step away from the norm. As runners we love overcoming challenges and pushing our bodies to see what we can achieve.
It does not mean you can never go back to those goals, but something to refresh your outlook on running can work wonders for your training, especially as training is like investing, each year you compound your fitness, and diversifying can bring about all kinds of rewards in the future.
Why not try jumping totally out of your comfort zone, by checking out these extreme and unusual races from our guest writer Hollie Mantle. This way you can combine your running goals with a vacation, and travel to one of these unique destination races.
These races are for those adrenaline junkie runners. If you have exhausted all your PRs (or accepted that PRs in the future are unlikely), why not try a real challenge through one of these intense races.
The 4 Deserts Race
This multi-desert race takes place over 7 days, and covers a whopping 250k (155 miles) in total. The four punishing legs include the Gobi March in China, the Atacama Crossing in Chile, the Sahara Race in Egypt and The Last Desert in Antarctica.
Considering running times for this monster marathon are between 25 and 70 hours, only the fittest may enter. You’ll need to give proof of medical records upon registration.
The Antarctic Ice Marathon
You don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out exactly where the Antarctic Marathon takes place. This race kicks off at the foot of Ellsworth Mountain, and travel operators such as Marathon Tours will ensure you get there in one piece (via a short flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia in Argentina, followed by a boat to the South Pole, then a dinghy to the start line – simple!)
In terms of the actual feat of tackling the snow clad trail; prepare yourself for running in 10F (-12C) degree temperatures. This means cold weather running shoes, wind proof jackets and layers, layers, layers.
Make sure you book well in advance; the race is currently full for 2015 and 2016 as there are only a hundred places available. There is also a 100k race available, for those who think a marathon is just too easy 🙂
For a race that is easier to access, and won’t involve re-mortgaging the house, the Haria Extreme takes place each year in Lanzarote, a Spanish island.
The race itself is only 32km long, but is teetering with harsh, rocky uphill scrambles that make it more than enough of a challenge for the most experienced runners.
Unlike the Antarctic Ice Marathon, this is something you will have to organise individually. You may be able to find cheap flights online, and to save cash on hotels by staying somewhere further south like Puerto del Carmen, which is close to the Timanfaya National Park, which will have plenty to keep you hobbling around after the race is over.
The Everest Ultra
At an altitude of 5184 metres (17007 feet), this is the highest marathon in the world. As most people struggle walking at such heights without being hit with mountain sickness, you will need to be strong-stomached as well as strong-legged for this one!
This race takes place around March and April and only 50 hardened participants may enter. You can find information about travel to the start line here.
We have all seen how the color run exploded all over the country, and tough mudder races are ever popular, but what about if you are looking for something completely different. Check out these fun races:
This chase-style race is only short at 5k but is sure to leave you breathless with the added adrenaline of being pursued by hundreds of flesh-eating zombies….well, if you get into the spirit of things!
At the start of the Zombie Run race you can choose to adopt a zombie or terrified-human persona, after which humans are given a two minute head start to run for their lives. Definitely one for the fun-loving runner who doesn’t mind breaking into a sprint.
Man vs. Horse
Although the name suggests a man vs beast type combat, don’t be fooled. This race started in 1980 after a suggestion that a man could outrun a horse over long distances. Fast-forward 34 years and man has triumphed a mere two times since the race began.
The original Man vs. Horse race is set in wales, around 5 1/2 hours from London, England. Although it is not technically a marathon at 23.6 miles, the 3000ft you’ll have to ascend through rough terrain definitely doesn’t make it easy. There is now a Man vs Horse 10 mile, marathon, and 50k in the Arizona desert too.
The challenge of attempting an unlikely win is what attracts most to this event.
The Great British Beerathon
For the beer mile lovers, or those who can only commit to the first few days of January as part of a sure-to-fail New Year’s Resolution, meet the The Great British Beerathon. In this event, competitors run five 1k laps, all beginning and ending at the pub.
Pit stops involve challenges such as gorging on pasties, pies and pints of Guinness.
If your arteries survive the attack, there is a prize for the first male and first female, which may or may not involve more alcohol. More information about the race is available here.
Hollie Mantle is a Digital Marketing Executive for AccuraCast, London’s leading marketing agency. Hollie has spent a lot of time traveling the world, including spending two years in Japan. Hollie won a travel writing competition in English newspaper; The Telegraph, and was a frequent star of rural Japanese TV. You can follow Hollie on Google+.