Toughest race in the world

There are so many races now that claim to be the toughest in the World. The MDS most notably claiming to be the toughest footrace in the World. But having just seen that thread for the Yukon Artic race, that looks completly bonkers.

Are there any other races out there that push even this?

Here's a selection of some that I've seen:

RAAM - Race across America on a bike, with strict time limits
Deca-Ironman - 10xIronman
Yukon - 300 mile footrace through the Artic
MDS - Stage race through Sahara desert
Trans Europe Footrace - Footrace from Lisbon to Moscow
Eco Challenge/Raid Galois (sp?) - Multiday adventure racing
Enduroman - Arch to Arc - Run to Dover, swim the channel, cycle to Paris

Which is the toughest, and are there more?


  • Trans 555 this year for elite competitors

    555k across Niger I believe

    For non elite there is always the trans 333
  • ooh.. trans europe sounds fun
  • there,s always the 1300 mile sri chimnoy race in america, 130 mile badwater race through death valley, spartak ultra in greece, there's the jungle ultra in brazil thats just been on, check out eventrate, nearer home there's the 145 mile grand union canal race and also the new 175 mile marathon of britain, don't think that just because they are here in england they are any easier, the marathon of britain saw temperatures reaching 100, hot enough to match any desert run,
  • Has anyone ever said "You're all mad"

  • Sure those in England are tough, but surely there are tougher!

    The Sri Chimnoy race is 3100 miles round less than a one mile circuit isn't it?

  • Bath's Hilly 10 presumably doesn't count!
  • [curls up in corner, wondering if just the mention of such lunatic projects might be enough finally to induce exhausted sleep]
  • the beauty of any ultra is that probably 99% of them are do-able, by that i mean that if you put in the correct training and decide how you want to do in the race , whether you want to compete or are just happy to finish then that will dictate if it is a hard race or not, i have actually raced the mds and found it very hard, another year i went out for a holiday and found it very enjoyable, thats why races in this country can be equally as tough. as you say the 3100 mile sri chimnoy would be very tough, but why? after all you are only going around in circles on a flat track and it doesn't matter whether it is in the artic or usa. we are probably equal in europe to some of the most varied terrain there is, including the weather.
  • I suppose there is a romance about being in a remote part of the world you have never been to before. And like with most things you dont appreciate what is on your own back door.

    The MOB looks interesting and is on the agenda but probably not next year as I want to do the Grand Union Race and an Ironman in the summer but havent worked it out yet.

    I agree that the UK terrain can be some of the most challening out there.

    Anyone who has trained in Brecon or Snowdonia, Lake Districty or Peak District will testify.

    What event are you doing next TYRM?
  • straightjacket anyone???
  • i am trying to give my wallet a rest next year to try and keep the bank manager happy then hopefully back in full flow the year after, what i have got lined up for definate so far is:
    30k bay to bay in cape town in january

    Rome marathon in march

    160 mile england coast to coast for charity in april

    mauritius half marathon in may

    probably back to marathon of britain in august, the coffers should just about stretch to it

    another crack at the 48 hour treadmill record in oct or nov
    in 2005 going back to cape town for the two oceans
    145 grand union
    commrades marathon
    then whatever i can slip in between (or afford, mores to the point!!)

  • forgot to mention these are on the adjenda for the future before i get too old,
    himalayen 100
    the new jungle ultra
    spartak ( if i ever get myself really fit again)
    lands end to john o groats,
    all i need to do is win the lottery then i can do a forest gump

  • How about the round world swim?... Solo... Bet that's a challenge.

    Races are as tough as the person who finishes 1st makes it.

  • this is very true, though the beauty of the ultra, apart from the select few, is the joy of actually completing the event, generaly everyone is competing in their own race to get to the fininsh line
  • David, what would you do about those annoying bits of land in between?!
  • you could swim underneath them nic
  • I've been toying with the idea of running the length of Haidrians Wall over a few days some time
  • 'some time' is good.

    I make plans for 'some time' quite a lot.

  • TYRM Am I right in thinking you hold the 48 hour treadmill record at something like 146 miles. I gather an American has set a stupid distance for the 24 hour record - and I think Rory still holds the 7 day record.

    Going back to the original message - the toughest in my opinion of organised races has got to be either the Spartathlon - not because of the distance but because of the time constraints put upon the athletes - this year the entry was about 270 (correct me if I am wrong) and only about 80 or so finished the 156 miles within the 36 hour time limit.
    Another toughy is the Iditasport Impossible (now know as the Invitational) from Knik in Alaska to Nome - 1100 miles throught frozen wilderness predominately unsupported. If the weather is against you it is impossible. fastest time is by an Italian (Roberto Giadano) who did it 2 years ago in 21 day (I think)
  • yes i hold the 48 hour treadmill world record (146.31 miles) my training buddy andi rivett now holds the 24 hour treadmill record around 132 miles and has just been given the 100 mile record on the treadmill , 16 hours 21 mins ( this is the same guy who ran the world record john o to land end in 9 days)
    i have to agree with you about the spartathlon i think its something like 22% of enterants have actually ever finished it, you have to do 6 marathons averaging 5 hours per marathon,best of all it was set up by rits and was usually won by the brits in the early days
  • Wild Will

    Sounds Like a good run.
    I'd definately do that
  • me and a mate wanted to set up an actual official ultra race along haidrians wall, but the powers that be, national trust or whatever, weren't happy with the idea, they didn't want 100 people or so trooping along the footpath due to the archeology, don't know what the difference would be if 100 'friends' got together and decided to walk/run the length all at the same time.
  • Last though they have opened additional stretches along the wall, and reinforced some of the pathways.

    I believe they got some lottery money.

    It may that they are more ameniable nowadays

    I'd definatly do the event if it ran
  • no, this we only asked them in june, they were not keen at all on the idea, you would have thought they would have been happy to get some free advertisement.
  • don't want to wear away their nice new paths by walking (sorry.. running) on them !!
  • Shame really, because the entry would probaly bve quite small - initially anyway

    I'll have to do it on my own then someday
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