Now that I’ve caught the bug and truly found myself committed, nay, obsessed with ultra-running and the unusual, perhaps crazy races and events that are out there, the beautiful epicurean has taken to reminding me of my perceived mental instability. I’m quick to remind her that people are out there running far greater distances than I am, for longer periods of time, and in harsher conditions. She seems to think this doesn’t negate my crazy, but I’m convinced that it makes my ambitions completely justifiable. Perhaps you’ve found yourself having the same conversation with a partner or friend? Perhaps you’ve been in need of a logical comeback when your sanity was questioned after signing up for a particular race?
Well, hopefully this (by no means comprehensive) list of events will help when you are trying to talk that special someone into tagging along to crew for you or just cheer you on at the finish line. You know, when the temptation of a vacation just isn’t enough!
1. Zoe Romano is running the Tour de France route in its entirety. Yes, you heard me correctly. The 26 year-old set out from Nice on May 18th , and will be running the entire 2,000 mile course in 9 weeks. That works out to about 30 miles a day, averaging 9 minute miles! The Tour is famous for its grueling climbs, and running just adds another incredible adventure. She’s no stranger to ultra-running, and in 2011, became the first women to run across the U.S. unsupported. She pushed a stroller with all of her supplies for the 3,000 mile journey. Crazy!
2. 4 Deserts Club– This is a special group of individuals. One must successfully complete four 250-kilometer, self-supported foot races across the hottest, coldest, windiest and driest places on Earth to become a member of the 4 Deserts Club. These events are the Atacama Crossing in Chile, the Gobi March in China, the Sahara Race in Egypt and The Last Desert in Antarctica. Crazy!
WHAT IS THE 4 DESERTS?The 4 Deserts is the world’s leading rough-country endurance footrace series. A unique collection of world-class events that take place over 7 days and 250 kilometers in the largest and most forbidding deserts on the planet.Competitors are challenged to go beyond the limits of their physical and mental endurance. Racing self-supported in the most inhospitable climates and formidable landscapes, they must carry all their own equipment and food and are only provided with drinking water and a place in a tent each night to rest.
3. Dean Karnazes probably needs no introduction, and I could spend the entire blog post using him as an example of true crazy. Who wakes up in the morning and decides they want to run 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 days? Crazy!
4. Running the Sahara– 4 guys decided it would be a worthwhile challenge to run the equivalent of two marathons a day through the Sahara Desert, covering the entire 4,300 mile journey in 111 days. If you haven’t already watched the documentary, it is well worth the time. Crazy!
5. Steve Knowlton– Plenty of folks have attempted and completed a run across the U.S., starting from a variety of locations, and ending in a variety of locations. However, few have done it faster than Steve. More significantly, he just happens to be from my hometown of Prior Lake, MN. Although I’ve never met him personally, there’s something about knowing someone from the place you grew up is doing incredible things that puts a smile on your face and motivates you even more. I’d love the chance to run with him at some point in the future. Maybe he’ll want a partner for his next big adventure?! Crazy!
6. The 3100 Mile Self-Transcendence Race– Hey! I know, why don’t we all head to NYC and run around a 1/2 mile city block for 18 hours a day for a month or so. That should be fun, right? 🙂 Crazy!
The Self-Transcendence 3100 mile was founded by Sri Chinmoy, which grew out of his wish to create an opportunity for runners to discover the limits of their capacities and to try to go beyond them. Hence the name “Self-Transcendence” which is appellate to all the foot races that the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team hosts. Since 1985 when the group first began holding races, the focus on the ultramarathon and multiday races has grown, from the famous Ultra Trio, three races with staggered starts of 700, 1000 and 1300-mile duration that take place in September, and the spring races, which include the Self-Transcendence 6-Day race and the only annual race of its kind, the Self-Transcendence 10-Day race.
In 1996 Sri Chinmoy created this event as a 2,700-mile (4,345 km) race. At the award ceremony that year he declared that the 1997 edition would be extended to 3,100 miles (4,989 km). The race has been run at this distance every year since.
Ok, so this is by no means a comprehensive list of crazy, as I said. However, I think it does a pretty good job of putting my running goals in perspective. For the moment, we’ll ignore the fact that each of these accomplishments is something I’d LOVE to try at some point in the future! So, what does your crazy look like? Which races and running feats do you use to justify your running goals?