There are plenty of ways to explore the world. You could take a holiday, a cruise or a tour. Or you could get up close and gritty while testing your physical limits in one of the toughest races in the world. Interested? Take your pick from our selection of the 6 toughest races held annually around the globe.
Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, Chamonix, Alps, France
This trail race is not for beginners. In fact you’ll have to collect points from your previous ultra marathons to be able to qualify for entry to this one. The Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc will give you a 46hr cut off, but you’ve got to haul through 103 miles of mountainous terrain (covering 3 countries and 10 mountain passes). Oh, and you’re going to cumulatively climb higher than it would take to summit Everest.
Norseman Xtreme Triathlon, Hardangerfjord to Gaustatoppen, Norway
If you can be one of the 250 competitors allowed to enter this ironman race, you’ll have to take a 4 metre dive into a fjord and then swim 2.4 miles back to shore. Warm up by cycling though 5 mountain passes (a casual 112 miles) then run a marathon that finishes on Gaustatoppen summit.
Jungle Ultra, Amazon Rainforest, Peru
Pack your hammock and your food supplies for this 230km adventure through Manu National Park. The Jungle Ultra is a newer race and has unique challenges – your kilometres will be broken up by 70 river crossings, and you’ll need to contend with the jungle mosquitos.
ÖtillÖ, Swedish Archepelago, Sweden
Find a friend for this one of a kind race along the coast of Sweden. Pairs have from dawn until dusk to run across 26 islands (65km). The challenge is the swim between each of the islands, totalling 10km. Don’t bother taking your running shoes off for the swims – there isn’t enough time.
Dragon’s Back Race, Conwy Castle to Carreg Cennen Castle, Wales
Only 40% of people who start this race complete it. Competitors need to be self-sufficient and navigate the route by themselves. Chew through 35 miles a day and sleep in tents at night. Racers cross Wales’ toughest mountain ranges, accumulating 10 miles of ascent. A mere 188 miles.
Marathon des Sables, Sahara Desert, Morocco
Complete 6 consecutive marathons over 6 days, while carrying your own food. It’s possible, and it takes you through some of the harshest desert environments in the world. This is not one for the faint of heart.
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