Of course we're always on on the hunt for the World's Most Insane and Craziest Ultramarathons (and all kinds of races) who wouldn't be? Aren't crazy races what makes distance and endurance running fun?
But what defines a crazy race? Is it a race that is exceptionally hard? A race that is held in conditions most people wouldn’t want to spend 15 minutes running in, let alone multiple hours, or all night? Maybe a crazy race to you means silly or wacky, like Star Wars races and runs at Burning Man. Obviously, most people would say that crazy is defined as anyone who voluntarily runs more than 26.2 miles, so maybe this list is a moot point. Regardless of your definition, listed below are some of the toughest, strangest, and weirdest ultramarathons that definitely earn the title “crazy.” Or, to some of us crazy runners, FUN.
Think running one marathon is hard? Try running the equivalent of six marathons in six days across a sandy desert in Morocco with limited water while also carrying all of your own food and camping gear. Oh, and you won’t know the course until two days before the race. Runners endure temperature extremes reaching 120o F during the day that plunge to freezing temperatures at night. Sand storms temporarily disable runners, leaving them blinded and disoriented. Packs must weigh a minimum of 6.5 kg (~15 lbs), which adds an extra level of difficulty to what is already considered one of the world’s toughest races. Our tour guide in Morocco,
Looking for a race that combines humidity, extreme temperatures, dangerous terrain, and the possibility of being eaten by a tiger? The Jungle Marathon is raced through the Amazon Jungle in Brazil and has three offerings: a marathon, a 4-stage 127k race, and a 6-stage 257k race. Recently named by CNN as the world’s toughest race, competitors must traverse swamps, river crossings, and steep changes in elevation on their way to the finish line.
Unlike other ultramarathons which are raced over a defined course of known distance, Six Days in the Dome tests endurance athletes to see how far they can run in 144 hours on an indoor 400 m track. Although the race is not being held in 2016, the race organizers have developed an alternative race that is perhaps even crazier – a 6 day event to be held on a cruise ship! Fun! Or Fun?
During this ultramarathon (the longest in the world), runners will spend up to 52 days running 3,100 miles around the same city block 5,649 times, completing a minimum of 60 miles per day. Even crazier? The race is held from June – August every year, which isn’t exactly the most temperate of times in New York City. Our legendary ultrarunner friend, Ray Krolewicz (aka Ray K), ran 2014 miles of this race back in 2014. Nutso!
Do you think running 29 miles is hard? Try running 29 miles while coaxing a burro to also complete the journey. Burro racing is popular in Colorado (or, at least, not as strange sounding as it may be in other parts of the country) and harkens back to the golden age of mining. Held since 1948, Burro Days offers a $1,000 prize for the fastest duo that can complete the 29 mile distance, including a climb up Mosquito Pass to 13,188 feet. Think you’ll be able to rest your legs for a bit and get a ride on your burro? Think again – that will lead to an automatic disqualification.
We've spoken about this amazing and super fun 50K ultra a few times before here on our blog, and honestly, we don't think it's actually so "crazy" -- except that it's an ultra held at Burning Man, the most crazy and fun place on earth (but only for one week of the year in the 70,000 person temporary city in the middle of nowhere in the Nevada desert, Black Rock City).
There you have it, 6 of the World's Most Crazy Ultramarathons -- add them to your running race bucket list. When you're done running any of them, we'll buy you a couple beers. Actually, make that a whole keg of beer!
What do you think, have you run any of these? Would you ever run an ultramarathon at all, much less one of these really hard and insane ultras? Comment below, let us know your thoughts!