6 of the World’s Most Bizarre Foot Races

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.

Mus­tache Dache
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.

Wife-Car­ry­ing 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.