Toughest Running Races In The World

Top 10 Toughest Running Races In The World

If you do it right, racing always hurts. But a select few running events are in a league of their own and these are the top 10 toughest running races in the world. From the lows of Death Valley to the peaks of the Alps, some races are so tough that they nearly destroy the best in the world. Steep ascents and descents, punishing heat, challenging terrain, and unfathomable distances, some races are downright brutal and you also factor in insanely tight cut-off times and the mental fatigue that comes from being on your feet for so long. It is unbelievable that people are able to complete such tasks.

In this article today, we are here to help you answer the questions
– What Is The Toughest Foot Race On Earth?
– What Is The Hardest Marathon In The World?

Keep reading below to see our top 10 toughest running races in the world.


Top 10 Toughest Running Races In The World

1. The Marathon Des Sables
The Marathon Des Sables is a six-day ultramarathon that covers 251 Km or 156 Mi in the Sahara Desert and is the reason why we considered this to be one of our top 10 toughest running races in the world. It is regarded as the world’s most difficult footrace. Before ever stepping foot on the starting line, runners must be cleared by medical personnel. Each runner also has to carry their own supplies throughout the race days, the longest of which is 91km (56 miles). The 1300 race slots are in high demand, and registration opens 18 months in advance.

2. Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc
The 106-mile loop known as the Ultra Tail du Mont Blanc departs from Chamonix, France, and travels through three nations. Participants will circumnavigate the junction of France, Italy, and Switzerland, hitting 10,000 feet in elevation multiple times along the way. It goes without saying that the vistas are fairly amazing. Don’t be fooled by the grandeur, though; runners prefer to experience the mountains from the top down. Although the UTMB hosts other competitions, this mountain race is one of the best and known as one of the toughest which is why we considered it to be one of our top ten toughest running races in the world.

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3. Tor des Geants
Tor des Geants, which translates to “Tour of the Giants” in Italian, is one of the O.G.’s of 200+ mile marathons. Along with the 205 miles, runners must contend with nearly every conceivable sort of weather and enough height gain to summit Everest twice.

4. Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run
The Hardrock Hundred Mile Endurance Run, which takes place in Colorado’s San Juan Range, covers 100.5 miles. Participants in the event must ascend more than 33,000 vertical feet, and the majority have difficulty finishing within the 48-hour deadline. You can’t forget all this also takes place above an average of 11,000 ft of elevation. Although extreme heat is seldom a problem, Hardrock is among the world’s toughest events due to its height, thunderstorms, and tricky alpine terrain.

5. Barkley Marathon
The Barkley Marathons is a 100-mile and a 60-mile “Fun Run,” held each March in the woodlands of Tennessee. The largest obstacle of the event is navigating the course itself, which climbs 60,000 feet of elevation, double that of other infamously challenging 100-mile races, and requires participants to navigate through Tennessee’s hilly, overgrown Frozen Head State Park on their own. A loop is not considered successful unless the page is returned. The concept is straightforward, but the course is so tricky and challenging, that only 20 individuals have completed the 100-mile race in its more than 30-year history giving it the title of one of the top 10 toughest running races in the world.

6. 6633 Ultra
A 120-mile and 380-mile race is available as part of the 6633 Ultra, which begins in Canada’s Yukon Territory and travels through the Northwest Territories. Expect strong gusts and temperatures between 9 and 30 degrees, but you can also expect stunning panoramic vistas. Oh, and if you go for the painfully lengthy 380-mile route, your race will conclude in the village of Tuktoyaktuk on the banks of the Arctic Circle.

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7. Badwater 135
The 135-mile Badwater race is what you need if you’ve ever wanted to experience what it’s like to run the lowest valleys and highest peaks in the United States. The race begins at Badwater Basin in Death Valley, which has the lowest elevation in North America, and ends at Mount Whitney, which is the tallest mountain in the U.S. mainland. Participants in the event climb and descend a total of 14,600 feet throughout the race, which spans three mountain ranges. One of the main reasons this race is in our top 10 toughest running races in the world is the fact Death Valley can reach temperatures above 115 degrees.

8. Western State Endurance Race
If you are familiar with any one ultramarathon race, it is probably the Western States. It draws participants from all over the world to conquer the famed, scorching course. It is also one of the oldest 100-mile races in the world. This race only gives runners 30 hours to complete, during which they will gain and lose a total of over 18,000 feet in elevation. Runners sometimes have to run through the snow because of their high elevation, while other times the heat of the summer leaves them entirely exposed.

9. Jungle Ultra Marathon
Participants in the 142-mile Jungle Ultra Marathon in Brazil must navigate treacherous river crossings, relentlessly high climbs and descents, and humidity that frequently exceeds 100%. Participants must be independent, carrying all of their equipment for the whole race, much like in the Marathon des Sables.

Jungle Ultra

10. Moab 240
One of the reasons MOAB 240 is in our top 10 toughest running races in the world is because of the difficult Utah terrain and distance racers have to travel. The race spans 240 miles across canyons, slippery rock, two mountain ranges, and deserts, as well as ascends 29,467ft. Along with steep inclines, there are also large boulders, cliff edges, and loose rock. Running two mountain ranges—the Shay Mountain and the La Sal Mountain ranges—along the way, the race completely circles the Moab desert in Utah. The cutoff time is 112 hours.

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After reading our list, what are your toughest foot races on earth and the toughest marathon in the world? Let us know!

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