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Five Ultramarathon Races You'd Be Crazy to Run

The mentally weak need not apply.
Five Ultramarathon Races You'd Be Crazy to Run

Some men strive to stay fit for health reasons, some for vanity, and others just for fun. Then there are guys who take fitness to another level, pushing their mental and physical capabilities to the max. This is the guy who says "been there, done that" to a 26.2-miler and registers for an ultramarathon. 

With Six Days in the Dome taking place this week and the Self-Transcendence 3,100-Mile Race wrapping up, we took a look at five of the craziest races on the planet. Could you handle these extreme endurance events?

The Badwater 135 takes place in California, but rest assured, you’re not going to be trekking across sandy beaches in your flip flops. This race is the most demanding and extreme running race being offered anywhere. It covers 135 miles, starting in Lone Pine, CA, reaching the summit of Horseshoe Meadow (elevation: 10,000 feet), then crossing Owens Valley to a 5,500-foot dirt road ascent to the highest paved point on Mt. Whitney, CA, which is one of the highest points in the United States.

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If you really want to get in touch with your inner-animal, how about an extreme foot race in one of the most dangerous jungles in the world? This year marks the tenth anniversary of the legendary Jungle Marathon, which takes place October 2-11 through the primary Amazon Jungle in Brazil. There are three distances a runner can choose from, including a full marathon, a 4-stage 127-km race, and a 6-stage 254-km race. Be ready for swamps, river crossings, steep climbs, and humidity and unbearable heat. 

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If you prefer the cold over the scorching hot jungle, maybe the Iditarod Trail Invitational is right for you. The race is the world’s longest human-powered winter ultramarathon, and at 350 miles, is technically considered a “short race.” It begins in Knik, AK, follows the Iditarod Trail to McGrath, AK, and the only support provided to the racers is three snow machines in front of the leaders. There are seven checkpoints where food and lodging are available, so no need to pack your own lunch. Snow cone, anyone?

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Most people can’t imagine running for more than an hour, but if you're not “most people,” Anchorage's Six Days in a Dome indoor track race is perfect for you. Choose from a 24-hour event, a 48-hour event, or a 6-day event. With spectator seating, an all-rubber track, and a 60-degree temperature inside the dome, you have all the amenities available to complete this race as fast as your feet can carry you.

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A true test of mental strength might not be trekking through a jungle or harsh winter terrain; it might be simply overcoming boredom and “transcending” to another level. This Self-Transcendence 3,100-Mile Race is the world’s longest certified road race, taking place from 6 a.m. to midnight over 52 days, and runners must average almost 60 miles a day (around one city block) in order to finish within the time limit. The race takes place in Jamaica, Queens from June 5 to August 6, 2014. To succeed, runners must endure mental boredom coupled with extreme physical stamina. Sign me up!

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