Oh, you did Tough Mudder and now you’re hardcore? Think again. Our friends at DragNsync show us seven of America’s toughest adventure races for those of you who are looking to push you body and mind to the limit.
When a supercharged sports car is purchased the only reasonable first action is to stomp the accelerator and bury the needle until you’re pretty sure going any faster will take you airborn. Hell, most of us probably did this with our parents’ station wagon the day after passing the driver’s test. At one point in time, and in small corners still, people treated their bodies in a similar manner. It is only natural to want to test our limits, but humans as a race have gone soft.
However, there are those select few that were never able to give up the primal urge to go further. Those “freak” athletes that know neither limitation nor quitting who still prove the human body is a much more impressive tool than we give it credit for – by competing in the world’s toughest races. This list is for all those who think they still have that beast inside that they must let out. But beware, once you see these brutal races that beast might turn into a cowaring, tail-between its legs kitten.
100 miles. For most of us, nuff said. Not gonna happen. If that wasn’t difficult enough, the course features 59,000 ft. of climb and descent that the runners must traverse… five times! The five 20 mile laps have time limits that when missed force the runner to withdraw. Since the competition began only 13 of nearly 900 runners have made the 100 miles in the allotted 60 hours. Scared yet?
A 135-mile marathon is intimidating enough. When you add the freezing cold conditions of Minnesota’s remote Arrowhead region in the winter an extreme challenge turns into a nearly impossible task. Competitors have the option of biking, running, or skiing the event, but don’t think picking what you’re good at will make this a cake walk. Last year only 24 of 59 competitors were able to complete the race.
The name says it all. Competitors span the distance of the continental U.S. from coast to coast on bikes. If you’re unable to imagine the scale of this think of the most famous race in the world: The Tour de France. This race is twice as long. To make it harder, there are no stages. Meaning when the riders of the Tour finish a day of riding their time stops and they rest all night. Once the Race Across America starts, time doesn’t stop until you cross the finish line. That is, if you can make it to the finish line.
To register for this extreme race you have to first go to youmaydie.com. Umm, about that… they’re being serious. The website states “90% of you will not complete this adventure race.” And they’re not kidding. They want to honestly warn those with weak bodies and minds to reconsider and maybe try something a little more safe and predictable. I’m sure Adam Sandler or Tyler Perry both have another crappy movie you could go watch. The Death Race features mud runs, obstacles, and intense trails meant to break the will and destroy the body.
Sometimes referred to as America’s toughest challenge, Pikes Peak goes up 6,000 vertical feet over a distance of more than 13 miles at an altitude so high trees are unable to grow, and that’s only the halfway point. Runners then turn around and do it all over all the while trying to avoid jagged rocks that at best will mangle and permanently maim you and at worst send you tumbling off the side of a mountain.
Death Valley wasn’t named so by accident. And in summer it might as well be called hell on earth. The blistering ultramarathon is ran in July when temperatures can reach unimaginable heights. Runners begin in the very belly of hell at 280 feet below sea level and then work their way up 13,000 cummulative feet fighting off the cramps and delirium of extreme dehydration.
At this point in the list you’ve probably realized these competitions are not for the faint of heart. Primal Quest is no different. 600 miles of navigation and survival through diverse terrain ranging from dense forest to barren wasteland to deadly canyons. Competitors bike, paddle, and spelunk through the South Dakota of the old west. Abandoned gold mines and ghost towns like the infamous Deadwood serve as competitors’ only refuge. And what does one get for completing what the majority of society doesn’t even believe humanly possible? Just the knowledge that you overcame the toughest adventure race in America. Oh, and a lifetime of bragging rights as a bonafide badass.
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