Thursday, April 12

The World's 7 Toughest Races

As posted in Marathon Training Schedule Blog (just want to have a copy of it).

So you’ve run a marathon?  Think that makes you tough?  Think again!
Some 500,000 Americans proudly brag about their extraordinary marathon experiences. But considering the very tough and tiring and even torturous marathon races that take place in the world, the American marathons are like an easy stretch. Some races are so tough runners have died running in the heat. To give you an idea about how the world is toughing up on marathons, here is a look at seven toughest races in the world.

7. Idatarod Trail Sled Dog Race of Greater Alaska
Idatarod Trail Sled Dog Race is held in Greater Alaska. More than 60 teams enter each year. Each team has 12 to 16 dogs and they have to slide 1,161 miles of sharp-toothed mountains and thick forest from Anchorage to Nome.

This route is a historic one that was once used for mail services and supplies to mining camps in the Alaskan interior. The race is tough due to the extreme cold; contestants have to bear a minus zero temperatures, can get visual injuries, and even freeze to death. The race draws contestants due to the big prize money it offers, a handsome $72,000, for the winner plus other prizes such as cars and trucks.

6. The Raid
The Raid is a very popular adventure race. The qualifying process for this race is quite intricate. The world’s top professional teams compete to enter the race. The elimination races are held in several countries.

The Raid Championship will commence in September in the French, Italian and Swiss Alps. Contestants go through five days and nights of physical and technical challenges valleys, mountain lakes and rocks, including the Massif of Mont Blanc. The Raid consists of running, biking, paddling and climbing over 360 miles.

5. Inca Trail Ultra Marathon
The Inca Trail ultra-marathon race is a tough endurance challenge for marathon runners. The race is not very long but what makes it tough is the Trail that goes through the Peruvian Andes to Machu Picchu.

Runners have to go through tough trail conditions, and get dizzy sometimes. The 27.5-mile course is made up of thousands of stair steps. Some of these steps are cracked and angled while the rest are smooth. The access to the trail is limited, but the race attracts runners from all around the globe. Runners have to sweat their way over the Dead Woman where they can run across the locals and tourists with backpacks.

4. The Tough Guy Race
The Tough Guy Race is meant for tough guys only. It was designed by Billy Wilson, a former Grenadier Guardsman. The Tough Guy Race is rated as the world’s hardest one-day endurance marathon. Perton, near Wolverhampton, England serves as host to the event that attracts thousand of competitors each seaso.

Most spectators describe the race as a torturous one. The race requires runners to finish a cross-country run before completing the assault course. Runners crawl through mud, climb obstacles, pass by flames, barbed-wire, smoke-bombs and even electric charges before they get to the finish line. Each participant has to sign a “death warrant” to accept the risks involved in the race.
3. The Barkley 100 Mile Run
Compared to The Marathon of Sands, The Barkley 100 Mile Run is a bit easier, but is still considered as one of the toughest ultra-marathons globally. Each year Frozen Head State Park, Tennessee plays host to the tough Barkley 100 Mile Run. What makes this marathon tough is the course that consists of a 20 miles long loop that has to be completed five times.

The limited time frame and no stops for refreshment, makes this marathon even tougher. Runners have to deal with 16,500 meters of vertical climb and they have to look for 9-11 books and tear off their pages as proof completion. Till date only 8 runners have been able to finish the race within the required time limit.

2. Le Marathon des Sables of Morocco
Of all the foot races in the world, Le Marathon des Sables is rated as one of the most difficult ones while also being the most expensive. The race is held every year in southern Morocco, and is also called The Marathon of Sands.

Each competitor pays a fee of $5,000 to enter the race. Participants wearing the backpacks with all their stuff are required to run through a hot 254 km piece of the Sahara Desert. They run through the intense heat and are allowed water at specific points. The race is also a lot of fun as the runners get to stay in tents and sleep in sleeping bags. Marathon runners who are ready for some heat and have a $5k can fly over to Morroco for an athletic adventure.

1. The Badwater Ultramarathon – The World’s Toughest Race
The ‘world’s toughest foot race” the Badwater Ultramarathon is a 135 miles long race held in heat of mid July. Cotestants run through terrain that goes through 280-feet below sea level in the middle of Death Valley to 8,360 feet at Whitney Portals located at Mt. Whitney.

What makes the race tough is the temperature that can go as high as 130 degrees, dealing with craggy highway, and the motorists. One can enter the race by invitation only and it is limited to only 75 runners. Most participants are known athletes, tri-athletes, mountaineers who have already proved their mettle. The race is so tough that the as many as 30% runners can never make end the race at their first attempt.

So what do you think?  Agree?  Disagree?  Completed them all?  Let me know – let me hear you!



  1. i think idatarod has also foot race, geoff roes won the 2012. i like #5. the rest are scaryyyy :)

  2. The Inca Trail Ultra Marathon appeals to me the most. You know me well enough na, Che, that I love scenic runs and with historical, archeological and/or architectural value. As for the other 6, hmmmm...pass muna? :-D

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