5 of the Toughest Races in the World

5 of the Toughest Races in the World

Extreme racing has become some what of a trend over the past few years and with the emergence of new events including obstacle course racing, triathlon, multi terrain running and other challenges, there is no short supply of fantastic options.

For those looking for a serious challenge however, and looking to conquer what most out there won't even touch; from extreme winter races, to races with a 43% 'Did Not Finish' rate. Here are a few of the most epic, and arduous, races in the world.

6633 Arctic Ultra - Canada 20th January 
 Fancy racing 380 miles nonstop across an icy and snowy landscape whilst pulling a sled full of supplies behind you? Well if the answer is yes, this one could be for you. Now entering its ninth year, this arctic endeavour pits winter daredevils against one another, beginning in the Canadian village of Inuvik along the Ice Road to Tuktoyaktuk and finishing across the line of the Arctic circle. With extreme conditions and temperatures falling below -20 degrees it is the elements combined with the 380 miles that make this one of the toughest races out there. 


Norseman Xtreme - Norway - 3rd August

The Norseman is a race so tough you’ll need a support crew throughout. And with a 15:35hr median finish time, the stats don’t lie. With the waters of Eidfjord getting as low as 45 degrees Fahrenheit and the athletes having to take a 4m jump off the ferry to begin the swim. The bike course is tough with a number of rolling hills before entering the run course. The final 15km of the run (before the 1500m slog up the mountain rocks and scree) has a gradient of 10% and is known as Zombie Hill, so you can imagine what that one is like. The race ends at the top of Gaustatoppen and is rightly named one of the most difficult races in the world.  

Iditarod Trail Invitational - Alaska - 1st March

This race follows the route of the Iditarod Trail—and is one not for the faint of heart. The race accepts 75 entrants each year and this ultra marathon combines foot racing, fat biking, and skiing across 350 miles in one of the world’s fiercest climates. If you’re tough enough to survive the frozen tundra once, you’ll qualify for the 1000 mile race which begins in Knik, Alaska and crosses over the Alaska Range into McGrath. Some challenging terrain combined with running, skiing and biking this one is a true test of endurance and mental will power. 

The Brutal, Snowdonia, Wales - 12th September

 This race was first launched in 2012 by ultra athlete Clair Smith and is known for its low key and friendly atmosphere. There is however nothing friendly about the race course. Beginning the 3.8km swim in the rather cold Lake Padarn before being subjected to over 3,000m of climbing on the 180km Snowdonian bike leg. Then there is the 1,349m of climbing along the run to finish off. You will be looking at 13+ hours of non stop intense pain on this one across some of the most challenging conditions in Wales.

OCR Dirty Double, UK - 9th May 

This is one of the worlds largest assault course which requires competitors to complete over 400 obstacles across 64km of terrain. Set amid the backdrop of Burghley house in Peterborough, challenges range form crawling through cars to a 30ft tower jump to the world's longest monkey bars and lake swim. This is probably not as intense as some of the other races but still requires a lot of grit to carry you through the 64km of challenging obstacles. 


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