Tired of your boring old gym routine? Never fear, since the beginning of time we humans have been coming up with ways to force our bodies to the limit. Why? No one really knows, but for some reason there are those few of us who love torturing ourselves. So if you’re looking for something more challenging than your 26.2 stroll in the park, take a look at what we think are the top five toughest athletic events in the world!

#5 The Everest Challenge

Everest-ChallengeDespite its misleading name, this race takes place in California. But never fear, you can still bike 332km uphill climbing a total of 9144 meters. The majority of the course is around a 20% grade, and so even the best riders will feel their legs wanting to explode by the end of this challenge.

#4 The Ultraman

The-UltramanWhy settle for an Ironman race when you could do an Ultraman? This three-day 515km race is held annually in Hawaii. Stage One consists of a 10km swim and 145km bike ride. Stage Two has you biking another 276km and then the final stage is a staggering 84km run (roughly two marathons).
The bad news is that only 35 people are allowed to compete each year, and the shortest time ever was just under 24 hours. You know it’s insane when even the best are taking an entire day to finish it…

#3 The Yukon Arctic Ultra

Yukon-Arctic-Ultra
This is the coldest 702km you will ever race. Whether you bike, ski, or walk, that distance would be hard in any climate, but couple that with the fact that it can get to -50C and blizzards are common and you’ve got the Yukon Arctic Ultra.
This is the only race that requires you to bring two days worth of emergency food and an avalanche shovel. Most participants give up well before the 13 day limit.

#2 The Iditarod

Iditarod
One of the most famous races of all time, this 1868 km race is actually run by teams of 16 dogs who pull their owner’s sled around. But lest you think you can just kick back on a sled, the blizzards and -70C weather are no picnic for the drivers. The sheer length of the this race is one of the reasons it is so difficult. The fastest time ever is just under nine days, but post will take closer to fifteen.

#2 The Iditarod

Iditarod
One of the most famous races of all time, this 1868 km race is actually run by teams of 16 dogs who pull their owner’s sled around. But lest you think you can just kick back on a sled, the blizzards and -70C weather are no picnic for the drivers. The sheer length of the this race is one of the reasons it is so difficult. The fastest time ever is just under nine days, but post will take closer to fifteen.

#1 The Atlantic Rowing Race

Atlantic-Rowing-Race
Yes. Atlantic. As in the ocean. This biannual race stretched from the Canary Islands to the West Indies coming in at 4,722km long. Contestants take anywhere from 40 to 90 days to complete, so not only do you have to row a boat for over a month, but you have to quit your job to boot!
Most boats carry 2-4 people, but a few brave (and possibly insane) individuals have done it solo.

And there you have it! Which of these will you be attempting?