If you can run a marathon, you are in good shape. When your body can take the rigors of running a 26-mile, 385-yards, you have passed a major fitness test. However, you are not running the longest race. There are ultramarathon races for those who just can’t get enough and 26 miles is just the beginning. Here are the five longest running races in the world.
Trans America Footrace
This is an event that has been run intermittently from 1928 through 2011. It is race that requires runners to go across country from Los Angeles to New York City. It was started by famed promoter C.C. Pyle. The event is a 3,200 mile event that takes approximately 70 days to complete. Peter Bartel of Germany won the 2011 event in 461 hours, 43 minutes and 6 seconds.
3,100-Mile Self-Transcendence Race
This race tests the limits of human endurance if your name is not Forrest Gump. This race takes place in June in Queens, New York. Runners compete for 18 hours a day, running around a city block that measures half a mile. They run until they complete 3,100 miles. The record of 41 days and 8 hours is held by German instrument maker Madhupran Wolfgang Schwerk. He set the mark in 2006.
Marathon Des Sables
This is a six-day event across the Sahara Desert in Morocco. Runners travel 151 miles over the course of the event. Running across the desert is among the most demanding and rigorous activities any human can endeavor. All runners must prepare food and have the proper shoes. The race is often run in temperatures that reach 120 degrees. The race organizers call the Marathon Des Sables the “Toughest Footrace on Earth.”
This Greek race is designed to follow the ancient course of Pheidippides, who ran 250 kilometers (153 miles) from Athens to Sparta to get help in the war between the Greeks and the Persians. Every year, the best ultramarathoners get together in September to mimic that run by racing the same distance.
This is one of the most famous ultramarathons in the world and it was started in 1921. The Comrades race covers approximately 90 kilometers (55.9 miles) of hilly and rough terrain in South Africa. More than 10,000 runners have participated in this ultramarathon.