We return to Britain to find out even more epic running events that take place each and every year. In part one we saw events that included a prison break and a course that was designed for horses. In this blog we look at a twenty-four hour endurance race and a bizarre competition that pitches humans up against horses.
nohtaraM nodnoL ehT
If you place nohtaraM nodnoL ehT up against a mirror then you will read The London Marathon, and it was conceived of by runners who failed to get a place in the actual race. Runners are not required to run around the course backwards, but they do have to run the route of the London Marathon in reverse.
The event is organized by the Social Ultra Facebook page and runners should be aware that it is not an official event so there are no marshals or first-aid attendants on hand. Competitors are encouraged to arrive on The Mall in the wee hours of the morning, and they are set off in running groups on the hour from 2am.This means that most runners cross the finish-line before 7am in Blackheath, so there is not too much disturbance to the London rush-hour.
Man versus Horse
Our next epic but rather strange running event takes us to Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales. The idea for this bizarre but interesting race came about from a session in a pub, where the patrons were discussing the issue who was faster, a horse or a human being?
Of course everybody knows that on firm and straight ground then horses are definitely the fastest. However, if the terrain was rather more undulating and rocky would the horse still be quicker. The challenge was to make a course fair to both man and beast and in Llanwrtyd Wells they came up with a solution.
The route is twenty two miles in length and some of the trails are almost vertical and rocky. However, during the twenty seven year history of this epic challenge, four legs have proven superior to two. Every time a horse wins the race an additional five hundred pounds are added to the purse until a human next wins.
Sri Chinmoy Self Transcendence 24 Hour Track Race
We return to London for our final epic race and the venue is Tooting Bec Athletics Track. The event is an ultramarathon and this rather long sounding race is as tough as endurance races come. The four hundred meter athletics track is the home for competitors from noon on the Saturday to noon the next day. Because the monotonous circuit provides no alleviation from the boredom of running around in a circle, this event is as much as mind over body than physical endurance. There are no changes in scenery, gradient, or surface to keep the mind occupied, just relentless track.
The record for this amazing event is held by a Greek runner named Yiannis Kouros who ran six-hundred and forty-eight laps, which equates to one-hundred and eighty-eight miles. In marathon terms this converts to over seven back-to-back marathons.
These amazing epic races are as diverse as they are incredible, but this should not distract just how difficult each and every one of them is. Which in turn complements each competitor that is brave enough to compete.