Have you ever wondered if you could outrun a horse, or how far you could travel with a grown woman on your shoulders? Not your typical 5K or marathon events, these bizarre foot races will test your sanity. Are you crazy enough to run one yourself?
Copper’s Hill Cheese Roll
Every spring, thousands of people from all over the world travel to Gloucester, England, where they proceed to chase an eight-pound wheel of cheese down a very steep hill. Laugh all you want, but this race is serious business; it was cancelled in 2010 among safety concerns, and police attempted to quash this year’s event by placing a ban on the brand of cheese that’s been used in the race for the last quarter century. But ultimately, they couldn’t stop the Roll; the 2013 winner, a Colorado man named Kenny Rackers, tumbled to victory in a morph suit adorned with red, white, and blue.
This annual race held in Durham, N.C., combines heart-pounding endurance with artery-blocking gluttony. The teams consist of four members, each of whom must complete one leg of the race; the first leg of this year’s event, for example, involves both swimming and eating one pig in a blanket. One vegetarian and one vegan are allowed per team. Proceeds from the DOUGHMAN benefit local nonprofit organizations that focus on educating people about environmental issues and building sustainable communities.
Man Versus Horse Marathon
If you’re wondering who came up with the idea for a foot race that pitted man against steed, the answer is “a couple drunk Welsh guys.” The year was 1980; one of these men was local landlord Gordon Green, who followed through with this fairly ridiculous idea and organized a public event that same year. Horseback riders have heavily dominated the 22-mile race over the years; it was not until 2004 that a runner, Huw Lobb, placed first overall. The original race is held in the town of Llanwrtyd Wells each year, and a copycat competition is also held in Prescott, Ariz.
Advertised as “the nation’s premier mustache-themed running series”, this eccentric 5K is held in eight different cities throughout the United States (and yes, organizers plan to greatly expand the list). Men aren’t required to grow any facial hair for the race, but a contest will be held to determine the top ‘staches. Women and children are also invited to take part in the race (face-painters are on hand to provide them with faux facial hair). Proceeds from the Mustache Dache support Movember, the prominent men’s health charity organization organization; for this reason, all Dache events are held in November.
Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race
Billed as the world’s longest foot race, this annual event finds runners traveling roughly one eighth of Earth’s diameter ― all within one square block in New York City. The rules are simple: contestants have 52 days to complete 5,649 laps around the same stretch of Queens municipal property; this comes out to roughly 60 miles for each day of the competition.
Since 1992, the town of Sonkajärvi, Finland, has hosted this bizarre test of endurance and spousal devotion, though the idea dates back centuries. The solo competition requires good-natured husbands to hoist their better halves into the air and transport them the length of a 253-meter track; each wife must weigh at least 49 kilograms (or roughly 108 pounds). Margo Uusorg of Estonia boasts the all-time record of 55 seconds; even more impressive is the current winning streak of five years recorded by Finnish couple Taisto Miettinen and Kristiina Haapanen. Annual festivities also include sprint and team contests.