10 insane races you need to try

The world’s craziest running events

Getting bored of the same old road races? Anyone can say they’ve run a 5k fun run – if you want to take things to the next level, you need to try these 10 insane races.

Tough Mudder

Billed as the ‘toughest event on the planet’ Tough Mudder is not for the faint of heart. Designed by the British Special Forces, Tough Mudder events are held all around the world, and pit contestants against a whole host of terrifying obstacles. We’re not talking a couple of rope ladders here. Think crawling through electrocuted pools, walking through fire, and submerging yourself in dumpsters full of ice.

Running of the Nudes

And you thought that old guy who runs around your block in short shorts was showing too much flesh. The Running of the Nudes is an annual race that takes place in Pamplona two days before the Running of the Bulls. This is an event organised by PETA activists to protest the cruelty to bulls that takes place during the main event, with competitors wearing nothing more than a red scarf and a set of fake horns.

The Impossible 5k

What’s your 5k PB? We guarantee that no matter how your race goes you’ll beat it at the Impossible 5k in Georgia. You see, this is a ‘Daylight Savings Time road race’, which sets off at 1:50am just before the clocks go back. When competitors finish it will in fact be an hour earlier than when they started, meaning everyone will technically have a negative finish time for the race.

Night of the Running Dead

You haven’t truly experienced how fast you can move until you’ve had to run away from a flesh-eating zombie. The concept of the Night of the Running Dead is simple: the ‘humans’ set off on a standard 5k fun run and two minutes later a group of runners dressed as zombies start chasing them. No brains are actually eaten thankfully, and it’s all in aid of a cancer charity.


Based on one of the many varying stories of Pheidippes (the original marathon runner), the Spartathlon is based on historian Herodotus’ version of the tale, in which the ancient Greek messenger supposedly made the 153 mile (246 km) journey from Athens to Sparta in under 36 hours. Runners in the event attempt to recreate this near impossible task, which includes climbing Mount Parthenio in the middle of the night.

Man versus Horse Marathon

Man versus beast. Human versus stallion. Paula Radcliffe versus Red Rum. You get the picture. The Man versus Horse Marathon (the race is actually 22 miles) has been run every year since 1980 in Wales as the result of, what else, a pub bet. Unsurprisingly this is an equine-dominated event – it took until 2004 for a human to win the race, when Huw Lobb finished in 2:05:19.

Beer Belly Run

What do you drink to fuel your runs? Water? Isotonic drinks? How about beer? The Beer Belly Run (unsurprisingly held in America) replaces traditional drinks stations with tables full of beer. Although not the most nutritious of workout fuels, this makes for an undeniably fun event – just don’t expect to beat your PB if you stop for a few pints on your way round.

Muddy Buddy

Do you have a buddy? Do you and your buddy like to get muddy? We have just the race for you. Teamwork is the name of the game here, as teams of two make their way through a 4 mile military-style obstacle course completing challenges that require two people to get through. The race finishes with a crawl through a giant mud pit, leaving both buddies thoroughly muddy.

Wife Carrying World Championships

If your wife is constantly nagging you about all the time you spend apart because of your running, then pack your bags – you’re going to Finland. Here the Wife Carrying World Championships are held every year, where male runners have to make their way around a course while carrying their other half. The grand prize for all of this spouse carrying? The winning couple bag themselves the wife’s weight in beer.

Sonderhausen Marathon

It’s 26.2 miles long and people run it to raise money for charity. Sounds like a normal marathon right? Not quite. We forgot to mention the rather pivotal point that the Sonderhausen Marathon takes place 700 metres underground in an old abandoned salt mine. All runners are required to wear a bicycle helmet and headlamp because the slippery floor and uneven roof make this more dangerous than your average marathon.

Editorial credit: CA Eccles / Shutterstock.com

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