Sunday, 15 July 2012

Unusual Running Races

Running has become so popular nowadays that a lot of different and unique events are popping up that not only involve straight forward running. Running a marathon is just too tame now, we need more than that. I started looking for some unusual or wacky races that I could share with you all, and this a few of the best I found.

North American Wife Carrying Championships  

What a hero!

This race makes me laugh because if I was to suggest to the lovely Charlotte (my wife to be ) that we take part, she would probably call the wedding off. Essentially you run a race through an obstacle track with your wife on your back (note: it doesn't actually need to be your legal wife). Teams need to be made up of one male and one female but it doesn't need to be the man who carries the woman.

"Carrying methods often include the piggyback or fireman's carry, but teams are encouraged to create their own style. All winners to date have employed the highly-technical Estonian carry, which has the woman upside down with arms wrapped around the man's waist and her legs draped over his shoulders."

Seemingly this all comes from a Finnish history. Rankainen the Robber, an infamous 19th century Finnish scamp only wanted the strongest men in his merry band. The way he tested this was to set up an obstacle race and make his men run it with a sack on their back. This evolved into running with women on their back to show more physical strength and so the lovely tradition was born.

The Great Kinder Beer Barrel Challenge

This race also looks like a lot of fun. Essentially, up to 11 teams of 8 runners rise to the challenge of carrying an 8 gallon keg of beer across the mountainous terrain of Kinder Scout.

The route is only about 3 miles, however there is a crazy 900ft climb up, and then of course they have to come back down. The fastest team get to drink their barrel of beer.

This is meant to be one of the most gruelling fell running events in the peak district, which is saying something!

Man vs Horse Marathon

Not as exciting as Cowboys vs Aliens marathon but still pretty cool. This is an annual event that pits horses against humans in a marathon through the Welsh countryside. You may think this sounds crazy, but as described in the book born to run, humans can actually outrun animals over long enough distances. This is called persistence hunting and it is how we survived and makes us who we are today.

That being said, in the 32 years of this event there have only ever been 2 human winners. That is still pretty incredible if you ask me!

The Great Wall Marathon

A marathon on the Great Wall of China sounds fantastic to me. I really want to visit China and go see the Great Wall, so it would be a great excuse.

Again, not much hidden in the title here, it is a marathon that takes place on the Great wall of china. Think how tough a marathon is at the best of times, a real test of human endurance and will power. Now add baking sun and 5164 steps to the mix! Maybe I will need to work in a few years of wife carrying before trying this one.

I will be writing more about unusual running races as and when I find them. I feel this is just the tip of the iceberg just now.

Let me know if you have ran in any of these races or indeed if there is a wacky race with your name on it that I may not have read about yet.
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