Wo, wo, woah! If you thought running a marathon or an Ironman Triathlon was tough, you’re in for a shock.
Check out these five obscenely, inhumanly, insanely extreme challenges that small groups of seriously determined, ballsy and slightly crazy people around the world are pushing themselves through.
If you blanch at the thought of running 26 miles, just turn back now. A marathon is a little warm up for these bad boys:
5. The Marathon Des Sables
Known as the world’s toughest foot race, this challenge has a deceptive name. It’s actually the distance of six regular marathons packed into one. 150 miles, with two extra elements of hardship added
The Des Sables crosses the Sahara desert in Morocco – so running over rocky hills and towering sand dunes in the baking Saharan heat of up to 50oC. And the runners have to carry their entire kit on their backs the whole time! That is hardcore.
4. The Everest Challenge
Imagine cycling up hill. It’s tiring, isnt it? You’re just waiting for that leveling out and downhill bit so you can cruise for a while and rest your weary legs.
Now, imagine cycling uphill, up gradients of to 10 to 20%, where the downhill bit never ever comes. And imagine doing that nonstop in a race, mile after mile… for 206 miles!
Welcome to the Everest Challenge. Can’t you feel your thighs burning just thinking about it?
3. The Barkley Marathon
Back on foot, over 1,000 people have entered this insane challenge in the US, aiming to hit the 60-hour target. But only 14 have ever achieved it.
This brutal 16,500 metre uphill climb following a vague track, half-destroyed and covered by thick thorn shrubbery, fallen trees and rivers – during torrential rain – making the mud slippery and treacherous, is one of the hardest challenges in the world.
Oh, and the climb is just part of a 100-mile race, to warm up.
But even this is not quite as extreme as:
2. The Tough Guy
Entrants to this challenge have to sign a ‘death warrant’ before starting because there are so many injuries ranging from cuts and burns to dehydration and electric shocks.
The Tough Guy, built by Billy Wilson in the UK, is a large obstacle course containing elements of SAS and gladiator training, and being in the Vietnam War.
In the freezing winter you have to wade through deep swamp, run over fire pits, crawl under barbed wire through the haze of smoke bombs and flares, work through flooded torture chambers, shimmy up giant, wet poles with no handholds, and plenty of other even worse obstacles.
For seven non-stop, grueling miles!
Want to know if you’re a tough guy? This challenge will show you once and for all:
1. The Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge
But beating even The Tough Guy in extremeness is the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge.
Simply because no matter how back-breakingly hardcore it is, the Tough Guy is over in a day or two.
The Talisker challenge takes three months of your life – rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean, and back. The entrants do this insane extreme challenge in teams of four, or two.
But the most hardcore are the solo-rowers.
Hats off to the guy in this video. Anyone who can row over one tenth the circumference of the world alone, sea sick and sun-burnt the entire journey, has some serious guts and grit:
Do you know any challenges as extreme as these?
What’s the toughest challenge you’ve ever taken part in?