Just when you think you're tough enough

Tough Takes

Top 8 Toughest Races in the World

You begin with running a 10km. You decide to challenge yourself and go for a Half Marathon. Logically, the next step would be to run a 42.195 km. What’s next? You pick up new sports! You start cycling and swimming, and you are now a triathlete. You swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles in the same day. You are now an Ironman! You have done it all. What does someone who has done it all do?

Some people collect coins, some people collect stamps, but these people, they start collecting races – not just any race, but the toughest races around! Join the club. Here are 8 races that should be put on your bucket list:

#1 – Ironman Kona – Kona, Hawaii

Completing Ironman is monumental, but having Ironman Kona under your belt takes you up one notch. This is a true battle test. To complete this famous race in Kona, Hawaii, athletes must brave through a 2.4 mile swim, beat a 112 mile bike course and battle a 26 mile run. And before you can even dream of crossing the finish line in Kona, you must post a top time in a different Ironman Event to qualify.


There is a time and there is a place that can crush these athletes, but the possibility, brings them all here to overcome this. Remember the more difficult the challenge, the more fruitful the reward.

#2 – H.U.R.T 100 – Oahu, Hawaii


No man has completed this race under 20 hours, no woman under 24. According to Race Director Jeff Huff, ‘Running the H.U.R.T is like bushwhacking through the Amazon whilst Climbing Everest at the same time.’ It is a tropical trail torture, yet the race is so greatly organized, people keep coming back for more. I think it has something to do with racing through the Honolulu paradise, being captivated by its beauty.

 #3 – Savage Man Triathlon – Maryland, USA


It is an honour in itself to be a known as a Savage Man, but the true savages are those that manage to complete the ride over the Westernport wall without dismounting or falling over. Many have fallen victim to the Westernport Wall even 6 time Ironman Champion, Dave Scott. Should you have what it takes (the Savage Spirit), your accomplishment will be immortalized. You will be rewarded with personalized engraved bricks that will be laid into the wall for future athletes to ride over or fall onto. Earn your brick!

#4- 4-Desert – Chile, China, Egypt, Antartica

7 days, 250km, Self-supported – The Ultimate Test of Endurance. The 4-Desert Series is a collection of World Class events allowing you to race through the most formidable conditions and landscapes. It really is the ultimate test on your physical and endurance limitation.


From the Atacama Crossing in Chile, to the Gobi March in China, to Sahara in Egypt and off to the Last Desert in Antarctica, this race brings you to all corners of earth and puts your physical and mental strength to the test. You will learn the true meaning of suffering. Yet you will travel and see jaw-dropping scenery that few will have experienced.

  #5 – Badwater Ultra Run – California, USA


Given the honour of having the title ‘World’s toughest foot race’, this race really lives up to its name. This event was conceived as being a way to connect the lowest point to the highest point in US. Athletes run through California’s Death Valley (how apt!) to Mount Whitney. They start from 282 feet below sea level and hit an elevation of 14,505 feet. Combine 135 miles with blistering heat, we can only imagine how this race earned its title and the glory that comes with being a finisher of this race.

 #6 – Big 5 Marathon – Africa


This is as though you have entered the realm of Lion King!  Racing in the wilderness is no easy challenge, but you will be rewarded with the stunning views of South Africa. The Big 5 stems from the Big 5 of Africa – The Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Rhinos and Buffalos. You literally run with the giraffes, run through a lion’s den, and be pretty up close and personal with the wildlife. This will be a Disney Dream come true.

 #7 – Athens Classic Marathon – Greece


Time to read up on History! The 42.195km/26.1 miles course is based on an ancient myth. Once upon a time, when Greece won the war over the Persians, Pheidippides was sent to run to Athens to announce this triumph victory in Athens. He ran from Marathon, to Athens, giving this distance the prestigious name it now holds. This race is definitely a collector’s piece. Steady uphill almost the entire route, it has been deemed one of the tougher marathons to complete.

  #8 – Marathon des Sables – Morocco


Formidable landscapes-check. Moroccan Desert-check. Inhospitable climates-also check. 6 days, self-sufficient, 251km should send shivers down your spine. Not to mention running through saltpans, up desert-mountains, through ruined deserted towns, through sandstorms and mind you in the scorching heat! People compare blisters at night before going to bed in shared tents. To complete this is an incredible achievement and definitely gives you the bragging rights.

Think you’ve done it all? Well think again. Push your limits.

Article by Melissa
More about the writer: www.road2irongirl.blogspot.com