For some people, a few hours at the gym or a solid game of basketball in the park is enough to satisfy their work out needs. They go home sweaty and tired, with a few achy joints, maybe a bruise or two, and they feel accomplished. For others, they're not satisfied until they climb a mountain, crawl through lives wires, and risk life and limb to cross a finish line.
If you're among the latter type of people (and if you're reading Break-Sports then you probably are), then you're guaranteed to love these crazy races:
The Death Race
The annual PEAK Death Race, brainchild of a Wall Street Financial Trader turned triathlete, is so severe, contestants must sign a fatality waiver before starting. Held during the summer in Pittsfield, Vermont, contestants start their journey at 4 A.M, with a belly crawl through mud and barbed wire. From there, the 24 hour race has them digging out tree stumps to carry along the course, running 2 miles through moving water with bike frames on their backs and chopping huge piles of wood. If that doesn't sound bad enough, they're also subjected to mental challenges like studying a precise configuration of Legos and then recreating it later in the course, and running up a mountain to memorize a list of U.S Presidents. With only a 10% finish rate, you're definitely crazy to try this one.
Push your biking abilities to the limit with this 4 month, 7,500 mile trek across Africa. The journey begins at the Pyramids near Cairo and then travels south along the Nile River to Sudan. Riders will traverse every type of terrain from flat tarmac to sandy deserts. With 94 days of riding and 27 days to rest, this ride is not for the weekend warriors.
One of the most popular and well-known races is definitely Tough Mudder. This grueling 10-12 mile obstacle course was designed by British Special Forces, so you know this is no joke. Only 78% of entrants will make it past the live electric wires, and pools of ice water, or through the fire and mud. But the real test of being a Mudder, is to not take yourself so seriously. Racers are met at the finish line with a cold beer and an awesome live band. Over 700,000 people have participated worldwide and together Tough Mudders, with help from sponsors like Betway, have raised over $5 Million for the Wounded Warrior Project.
La Jolla Rough Water Swim
Started in 1916 during the World's Fair as a way to showcase the city, La Jollans decided to host a swim. 7 Men swam the first ever 1.7 mile race that went from the north side of the pier and ended in La Jolla Cove. The tradition has been alive for 97 years and has seen many changes to the course. The original course was deemed too grueling, and changed to the current 1 mile, triangular course. The Rough Water swim averages 2,000 swimmers each year.
Ragnar is distinct in its team aspect. In this 200 mile race, teams of 12 (or 6 if you're really insane) take 2 vans and then tag team run day and night in a relay-style race. Only one person runs a 3-8 mile leg at a time while the others in their van drive ahead, cheering them on. When you get to the switching point, a new runner gets out of the van and the person who just finished gets in. The runners in Van 1 will cover the first 6 legs of the race, and the runners in Van 2 cover the last 6 legs. Once both vans complete all 12 legs of the race, you do it again, two more times! This is a great team building race, and participants really have fun with it.
The Krispy Kreme Challenge
Perhaps not as physically challenging as the other races, North Carolina's Krispy Kreme Challenge supports a great cause. Proceeds from the race go to the North Carolina's Children's Hospital so they can continue to provide care to patients in all 100 counties, regardless of their ability to pay. Participants in this race run two miles from the Belltower to a local Krispy kreme where they must eat a dozen glazed donuts and then run the 2 miles back. 4 miles might not seem like a lot to seasoned racers, but you need a stomach of steel to keep those donuts down.
Whether you're looking to push yourself past the breaking point, work on your team building skills, or just have a memorable life experience, these races have something for everyone. Set a goal, find a race near you, and get to work!
Jessica Pepper has a Master's Degree in Liberal Arts and a knack for mac and cheese making. Even though she's a nerd, she's always on the look out for new adventures.