Seven Hidden Wonders of the Sporting World: The Seven Most Spectacular and Hardest Sporting Events in the World
Seven of the toughest and most original sporting events on the planet ranging from driving to ultrarunning and biking.
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There are many popular sports that everyone knows and loves, but there are also some very intriguing and exciting games that are relatively unknown. If you are interested in something out of the ordinary, or just have a curiosity about some of the uncommon sports of our time, take a look these spectacular but unknown sporting events.
Marathon de Sables
Although not a hugely competitive event, this does not make this race any easier. Covering 152 miles in six days, this event takes place in one of the most unforgiving environments in the world, the Sahara desert.
With many of the proceeds going to help African suffers of the debilitating physical disease, Noma, the event has grown in popularity over the years and is already sold out for 2010, with many every day people taking up the challenge of finishing the grueling event.
The “marathon” of the north, this sled-dog race is run over 1151 miles (1,853 km) in ten to seventeen days (depending on conditions every year) on a path from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska as a tribute to a famous 1925 serum delivery.
Sled-dogging through Alaska’s great frontier and some of the most beautiful and most unforgiving places on earth, the Iditarod is a test of personal will, experience and dog handling ability. Dubbed “the last great race” the tempatures have been known to hit negative 100 farenheit with wind chill during the competition.
There is hard, and then there is Badwater. The Badwater ultramarathon race is held every year, at the hottest time of the year in one of the hottest places on the planet, Death Valley.
The race is literally hell on earth with contestants having to run the entire 125miles on pavement and often finding themselves having to use only the painted lines of the road as their running surface to stop their shoes form melting and feet from burning.
Officially the most intense adventure race on the planet, this ever moving event pits man against the elements and his opponents. Taking place over multiple days, trekking, mountain biking, kayaking, white water swimming and navigation are only some of the skills athletes need to rely on the finish this grueling test of endurance.
The US based race has used the most treacherous and breathtaking parts of Montana, the San Juan Islands off of Washington State and Utah as sites for the race.
Open to both amateurs and professionals, it is the hardest and most intense driving event in the world. This race was actually cancelled in 2008 due to terrorist threats. Still, even without suicide bombers, this rally car event proves time and time again to be one of the toughest endurance tests in the world. Taking contestants through rugged sand dunes, mud holes, and rocks the race itself is often considered a success if one finishes.
With a number of different classes to compete in the event sees anything from trucks to motorbikes making the trek. No stranger to criticism, the event has seen a fair number of people killed in crashes, including a 10 year old girl who was killed by one of the racer’s cars as he was crossing the finish line.
Not very well known but growing in its popularity, the Crocodile Trophy is what the Tour de France can only claim to be, the hardest cycling event on the planet.
Taking place in the Australian outback the race exposes participants to harsh wind, extreme heat and terrain and a plethora of dangerous wildlife. Covering approximately 800miles over 10days, it is the most extreme stage bicycle race in the world.
Hawaii Ironman World Championships
Although it is not as “hidden” as it used to be, for how popular and far-reaching the event has become, the Hawaii Ironman World championships is still one of the most under covered and least publicized events in the world. Every year ten’s of thousands of people attempt to qualify for this 2.4mile swim, 112mile bike, and 26.1mile run through smaller Ironman events held throughout the world.
At the race itself, the atmosphere itself is legendary with professional triathletes and amateurs lining up at the starting line together, each with a story of their own. The cross winds off the ocean and the marathon through the lengendary lava fields of Kona makes this most exciting, difficult and treasured one day endurance event in the world.