This trial may not seem like much, as it takes just two minutes to complete, but don’t let that fool you—it’s downright brutal. From the second you begin running up five stories to final moments pulling a 175-pound dummy backwards over the finish line, this race will set your pulse soaring. Pack 50-pounds of firefighting gear onto your body, complete the course and find an even deeper level of respect for these heroes.
Regular Tough Mudder Challenges are up to 12 miles long riddled with tortuous military type obstacles—and those are child's play compared to World’s Toughest Mudder. The ramped up course adds secret obstacles, colder temperatures and requires a headlamp because you’ll be competing for 24 straight hours, through the night. Competitors with the most completed laps after a full day win the coveted title of World’s Toughest Mudder. Hoo-rah!
Creator Billy Wilson (a.k.a. Mr. Mouse) staged this race on private land because he said that nature couldn’t provide a course challenging enough. We think he’s confused the word ‘challenging’ with the word ‘deadly.’ The course has killed two competitors and injured hundreds, if not thousands, more. In the 2009 race alone, 600 competitors, including the winner, suffered hypothermia. The Tough Guy is held in late January.
In the dead of winter, contestants can look forward to swimming in ice water, jumping over fire and crawling under barbed wire while smoke bombs explode overhead. Prior to 2000, there was an option to compete as a “Tough Guy Jesus Warrior,” which meant attempting the nine mile race with a hand carved wooden crucifix on your back. The option no longer exists, presumably because the race is deadly enough without it.
The Everest marathon is the highest marathon in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records. If you thought your local marathon was hard, try breathing normally at 17,000 feet and negotiating your way over rock and dirt on the side of a mountain for 26.2 miles.
The Everest Marathon requires a medical exam two days before the race by their team of professionals and they will also supervise each runner’s adjustment to the altitude, this is not negotiable. The organizers also insist on competitors getting to know one another, as they may need to help each other on the mountain.
100 miles, 25,000 feet of elevation and dense Hawaiian forest put the H.U.R.T. 100 on our list. This trail running competition is among the toughest in the world. Running on unpacked dirt, rocks and over massive tree roots, you have 36 hours to complete the race. Supposedly even the fastest finisher of all time took more than 20 hours.
This no-frills Tennessee backwoods torture course was inspired by the story of an assassin’s escape from prison and begins with the lighting of a cigarette. 100 miles and almost 60,000 feet of vertical climb seems an impossible feat with a 60-hour cutoff for qualifying finishes. Only 14 people have ever officially finished in the races nearly 30 year history. Add rapidly changing weather conditions, a scarcely marked “trail” and plenty of thorns and brush to slow you down—this race might actually be worse than prison.
The 6633 ultra is a race over a distance of either 120 miles or 350 miles, because 26.2 miles simply isn’t challenging enough at the Arctic Circle in sub-zero temperatures. Adding strain to pure insanity, each runner is required to carry all supplies with them and then cook their own food. The only thing guaranteed at rest areas? Shelter and hot water, so if you make it to a checkpoint you can die with a roof over your head.
This Ultra hell run came about in an attempt to link the lowest point in the continental U.S. to the highest point, and tackle this feat on foot. Considered one of the toughest races on the planet, the most direct route is 146 miles long with 19,000 feet of total elevation gain. But since the U.S. Forest service has banned competitive races in the John Muir Wilderness, the official race has been scaled back to a mere 135 miles long. Some competitors continue on unofficially in an attempt to complete the original challenge.
As if 135 (or 146) miles up hill could get any worse, the event takes place in the killer heat of California’s summer. Temperatures in past races have reportedly reached 130 degrees.
According to their website, more people have been into space or climbed Everest than have rowed the Atlantic. They say this is the toughest race on earth, and we might have to agree. The race alone can take up to 90 days to complete, starting in the Canary Islands and ending in the West Indies. The total trek is nearly 3,000 miles long over choppy shark-infested waters. If blisters, a “near starvation diet” and sleep deprivation sound like a good time, this challenge is for you.