Extreme Endurance Races: Where Dehydration Reigns
A list of five of the craziest extreme endurance events on earth. Some completed by less people that have been into space.
Any race that begins in a place called Death Valley is sure to be a tough one. The organisers of the Badwater Ultramarathon describe the 217km event as “the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet”.
With Death Valley being 85m below sea level and the lowest elevation in North America, the Badwater Classic will see you climbing 4450m over three mountain ranges.
Held in the middle of summer each year, conditions are devastatingly hot with temperatures around 50°C, even in the shade – if you can find any. Dehydration is unavoidable.
You’ll travel through aptly named landmarks such as Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells and Devils’ Cornfield and if you reach the finish line you’ll be among a select few.
Arc to Arch
The Enduroman Arc to Arch is a brutal race that begins at London’s Marble Arch and finishes a few days later at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Only 24 athletes have ever completed the race solo.
It starts with a 140km run from London to the famous Dover coast, before jumping in the icy cold English Channel and swimming around 35km over to France.
Next up, you’re on your bike for a 291km ride through the French countryside and into Paris where you can promptly celebrate with a cigarette and a baguette.
The record is held by Aussie ultramarathon legend, John Van Wisse, who completed the feat in a leisurely 61 hours and 21 minutes.
Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge
A gargantuan 3000 nautical mile race across the Atlantic Ocean that can stretch on for up to three months, this is the ultimate ocean adventure.
Beginning in Spain’s San Sebastian and finishing in Antigua in the West Indies, more people have been into space or climbed Everest than have rowed the Atlantic. You’ll face huge seas often breaking or flooding boats, along with brutal blisters, dehydration, salt rash, sharks and sleep deprivation.
Tackle it solo or in teams of two or four people and test every aspect of your mental and physical wellbeing in the world’s toughest row.
Marathon Des Sables:
Knows as the MdS this crushing 250km footrace through the Saharan Desert will have your body screaming for mercy.
With temperatures reaching as high as 51°C there is no escape from the Moroccan sun and you must carry everything you need except for water and a tent.
The fastest runners complete the race in around 20 hours, around 11.68km/h… hang on what?
Mere mortals can stroll through in a leisurely five or six days. That’s only around 42km a day through speed sapping sand and scorching heat with a backpack on. Easy right? Pack your electrolytes.
Australian Crocodile Trophy
This nine-stage, 850km Aussie mountain bike race from Cairns to Cooktown sees contestants traverse seemingly endless mountainous terrain and climb a total of 17,000m vertical elevation.
Conditions can be blisteringly hot and you must have a race partner to enter and bring all your own spare parts.
Expect amazing scenery and challenging terrain as you tackle single trails, river crossings (presumably without crocodiles) and steep ascents through the Australian top end.