HOT ON THE TRAIL OF THE WORLD’S MOST EXTREME RACES
Text°°° SYLVAIN BAZIN Endurance races are highly popular. But the ones we are going to talk about are for the most seasoned, most enthusiastic athletes. They draw extreme runners onto hostile and mighty terrains. An overview of the craziest races in the world...
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THE “MOUNTAIN CONTINENT”: THE HIMAL RACE 900 km in 23 stages, at an altitude of between 2000 and 5700 metres; Nepal and Tibet (Himalayas). This epic race is no doubt the harshest of the world’s races. Nearly 900 km long, over 40 000 metres of hilly terrain in 23 stages, practically without assistance, with a fifteen kilo backpack. This race is for experts only, for a privileged few who launch themselves on a dash across the Himalayas, from the foot of Mount Kailash considered sacred by Buddhists and Hindus, through the secret regions of Dolpo and the Hidden Valley. The itinerary takes the adventurers to the southern base camp of the Annapurnas. Next race: October 2010 www.basecamptrek.com
These races are the stuff of dreams...and disappointments; they are among the most beautiful and the most demanding in the world. From hot to cold, from desert to mountain or jungle, they call upon their participants to surpass themselves in extreme conditions and over distances that seem endless. Let’s take a closer look at five legendary races.
THE GREEN HELL: THE GUYAN’TRAIL 200 km in seven stages; French Guyana (South America).
i Heat, sand, and dunes as far as the eye can see: the immensity of the Akakus desert is the setting for the Libyan Challenge. f Intense cold and icy plains – you’d better be cool-minded to do the Yukon Arctic Ultra!
Running in the Amazon jungle is a bit like doing press-ups in a sauna: not easy. Except that here, apart from the sweat and the heat, you also have to deal with creepers, steep slopes and long straights in lush vegetation all under the watchful eyes of iguanas and monkeys. This tropical race is also one of the most beautiful in the world. Next race: March 2011. DESERT AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE: LIBYAN CHALLENGE 215 km non-stop without assistance; Akakus desert, Libya and North Africa. The Libyan Challenge crosses the desert of Akakus, with 215 km of sand and stones. This race is non-stop with no assistance. Runners use their Satellite Navigation systems to find their way. Only the tents containing water, tea and camp beds, placed every 20 km break the isolation in this vast open space where vegetation is nowhere to be found. The runners set their gaze on the horizon, wonder at the fabulous striations in the rock, but keep going, occasionally bathed in the light of the full moon. Next race: February 2011 www.libyanchallenge.com
WHITE HELL: YUKON ARCTIC ULTRA Between 42 and 666 km; Yukon, Canada, and the northern US.
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Don’t mind the cold? Fancy vast, flat, icy, isolated plains? Then this race is for you! In return for a fair dose of effort (including
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Published on Jun 19, 2011
30 ° degrees, the Swiss magazine of sports and recreation, 10 years of reporting, news, interviews, in 3 languages F / D / E, also avaliab...