5 Ultimate Tests of Endurance You Haven't Heard About

It’s amazing today to see all the crazy and insane events that are out there for people like me to pay big money to enter only to have ourselves tortured, beaten and battered. What a crazy wonderful world we live in. I have competed in many of them around the word and plan to continue until the day I die. People often ask, “Why do you continue to do this nonsense and put yourself at risk?”

My response: “I cannot imagine life without it. This is the stuff that keeps me young mentally, that keeps me excited to live. I love being able to put this wonderful human body of mine out there only to see how far it will go before the tires fall off. And trust me, it truly keep on ticking!”

Here are some of my favorite insane tests of mental and physical endurance. Have fun finding crazy, fun events to challenge yourself.

Tough Guy UK

I love this event. It’s absolutely insane but so much fun. The phenomena of Tough Guy has now evolved into cult status from mythical legends to a worldwide audience. Competitors from every continent battle through the ordeal and enjoy the unique spirit of friendship and amiability.

It is set in over 150 acres of fertile land where spring waters will wash away your miseries and replace them with smiles of achievement. There's nothing like swimming in frigid waters, running through fire and then crossing an electric field while still wet.

Each year a new theme is built into Tough Guy to ensure it remains the world’s safest most dangerous taste of mental physical pain endurance toughest events. Tough Guy will always be a physically challenging, mentally demanding, fear inducing, visual spectacle. After you have taken part you will understand why thousands keep coming back year after year to experience some of the most demanding yet rewarding challenges of their life!

This is not for the faint of heart.

Raid Gauloises

The Raid Gauloises is a sports-adventure-nature concept that calls upon nothing more than man, his resourcefulness, intelligence, experience and energy without any outside intervention and use of motorized vehicles. This is absolute test of self-sufficiency with total immersion in a natural environment. Through the experience you submerge yourself in search of others, of oneself, and of another kind of life far from the usual everyday existence in our highly mechanized societies.

This is an epic adventure race. The year I did it we raced 520 miles across the Himalayas from Janapur, India to Lhasa, Tibet. The views and scenery were absolutely awe-inspiring.

Barkley 100 Trail Race

Barkley is considered one of the toughest 100-mile races in the world. It has 52,900 feet of climb (and 52,900 feet of descent), which is more than any other 100 mile race. It has more than the 33,000 feet of climb at Hardrock, and more than the 45,000 feet at Nolan's 14.

Since the race began in 1986, only 8 runners of about 700 participants have finished within the 60-hour cutoff. Mark Williams of the UK finished first in 1995 in 59:28. In 2001, after several failed attempts, Blake Wood, 42, NM, and David Horton, 50, VA, finished together in 58:21, only to be disqualified for inadvertently leaving the course to follow a parallel route for about 200 yards. This route (on the south side of the stream instead of the north side) has slightly better footing and had been the normal route until 2000.

This is a true purist’s ultramarathon. There are no aid stations, no fans, hardly any trail and tons of elevation, briars and insane weather. I made two loops in 2008 and will hopefully be going back for another try in 2010.

California’s Strongest Man Competition

I really enjoy Strong Man competitions for their true test of human strength. It’s you against massive tires, huge atlas stones, monster trucks, and other large instruments of torture. The nice thing is that many events offer weight classes for smaller guys and yes, even girls. There are many incredible female competitors out there that are many times beating the boys today. Watch out guys!

The Death Race

A friend sent me a link to this race and I had to check out. It looked so insane that I decided to sign up for it for my 40th birthday in 2010. At least, like the name states, there’s no beating around the bush.

This is one very challenging race. The course has been determined and you have 24 hours to finish with cut offs. The cut offs will not be in effect until noon on race day. You must make the cut offs or you'll be eliminated from the race. Expect to cry and scream as you pass through barbed wire, chop wood, mud, water, ponds, waterfalls and more. There's $2000 of prize money at stake with only 24 hours to complete the race.

I know this kind of stuff might not be for everyone, but if you are looking for something new, different--or just plain crazy--give it a try. As scary as they seem or pretend to be, I’ve never heard of anyone actually dying during one of these events. Just many times you wish you would. Have fun and never stop playing like a kid!

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