There are many grueling races and events which challenge the fitness and commitment of the participants. Some of the most demanding and hardest fitness events in the world are as follows:
Iditarod Trail Invitational (ITI)
The Iditarod Trail Invitational (ITI) is one of the toughest and most enduring fitness events in the world. In this annual invitation event, participants run, fat bike, or ski the 1000-mile Iditarod course. The participants are likely to face temperatures from -50F to 35F, gale force winds, blizzards, waist deep snow, sunshine etc. all in one day. Considering the precariousness of the course and the dangers involved, only the most qualified and experienced participants are selected for this event. Only minimal assistance and supplies are provided to the participants. The participants must bring their own supplies and complete the final 500-miles of the trail without any support and relying on their own supplies and those which they sent to the remote villages before the event. Since its inauguration in the year 2000, only few participants have completed the race.
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Marathon des Sables
The Marathon des Sables is an ultramarathon in the middle of the Sahara Desert. The trail is one of the most challenging in the world with extreme and demanding weather conditions. This ultramarathon has a total distance of 156 miles, with the longest trench being 57 miles. The ultramarathon has to be completed in 6 days with 1 rest day in between which is generally after covering the longest trench. Each participant must carry their own backpack containing the necessary gear and supplies needed through the duration of the event. The exact trail of the race is not disclosed earlier and the participants are only informed about it on the race day. Competing in the scorching Saharan weather takes a lot out of the participants and this ultramarathon is ideal only for the extreme marathoners.
The Barkley Marathon
The Barkley Marathon is one of the most challenging ultramarathons in the world. It is held in the Frozen Health State Park near Wartburg, Tennessee in early April each year. The race trail is more than 100 miles and requires unbelievable fitness to complete it. The ultramarathon has to be completed within 60 hours. The participants have to start in the middle of the night to climb 120,000 feet and then descend the same height. One loop approximately equals a marathon distance and the participants have to complete 5 such loops to finish the ultramarathon. In the 30 years of this event, only 15 participants have finished it and there was no finisher in 2018.