Last updated: 16-Nov-16
By Elsa Trujillo
In the distant past, in the absence of horses or homing pigeons, messengers carried the news of approaching armies, military victories and defeats or the death of kings.
Legend has it that in 490 BC Pheidippides*, a courier for the Athenian army, ran more than 300 km in the Greek summer heat to Sparta from Athens and back to request help. He then ran from the battle plain of Marathon back to Athens, to bring news of victory over the invading Persian army. Pheidippides is seen as the inspiration for the modern day marathon.
What’s your ultra limit? What’s your personal record? What’s the farthest you’ve run in one day? Whether you want to run in one go or in stages, here are RunUltra’s top extreme distance races with a few comments from our members.
Distance of legends: +200 km
Africa: Kilimanjaro Stage Run (260km), the Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon (250km) and the Marathon des Sables (250km).
KSR: It is an absolutely amazing adventure. Svilliger
KAEM: Simply the best race I have every taken part in. MRanger90
MDS: Best race ever, so brutal and so beautiful. Great people.” SGirl1971
Americas: Yukon Arctic Ultra (692km) and The Coastal Challenge (236km).
TCC: “A more laid-back and somewhat luxurious race” Jack Tavernor
Asia: Global Limits Cambodia (220km), Manaslu Mountain Trail Race (212km), Global Limits Sri Lanka (210km) and the Global Limits Bhutan (200km).
MMTR: “Never have I experienced such beauty, tranquil, inspiring but challenging terrain.” Renee McGregor
Europe: 300 of Sparta Endurance Race*** (378km), Tatras to Danube Run (345km), Wibolt (320km), Ring O’ Fire (217km) and the Ultra Marathon Sovev-Emev (200km).
ROF: Whilst I didn’t finish, I love this race so much! Arrytbb
Oceania: The Track (520km) and the Big Red Run (250km).
Other extreme distances: 160-199 km
Africa: the Richtersveld Wildrun (150km).
RW: One of the most sublime running experiences I’ve had in 28 years of ultras. Johnreinvented
Americas: La Transtica (197km), Fat Dog 120 Trail Race (193km), Sinister 7 (161km), Lake Martin 100 (161km), Mountain Lakes 100 (161km), Tahoe Rim Trail (161km), Iron Horse Ultra 100 (161) and the Salt Flats 100 Mile Endurance Run (161km).
SF100: A bucket list race with scenery and terrain you will experience nowhere else on this planet! Jay Aldous
Asia: the Everest Trail Race (160km).
ETR: “A must do if you enjoy multi day racing.” Kerry Sutton
Europe: Five Islands Ultra (177km), 100 Miles of Istria (165km), Rodopi AdvEndurun (164km), 100 MeilenBerlin – The Berlin Wall Race (161km), St Oswald’s Ultra (161km), Cotswold Way Century (164km), the Cotswold Way Challenge (161km) and the Ultra Norway Race (160km).
Leave a review of your favourite ultra marathon for other runners. Just click on a race, become a member, share your view and spark a conversation.
Sinister 7. Photo credit: Full Moon Adventure Company.
** Yes, you read the distance right. An international team left Los Angeles on 16 January 2015 to run across the USA. They estimate it will take them four and a half months. You can still join them for runs across each of the remaining States.
*** This is no legend. You can follow the footsteps of King Leonidas and his 300 soldiers from their home in Sparta to their ill-fated destiny at the Thermopylae Pass.