Top 10 ultra marathons on Earth that I reckon anyone might actually find really a bit hard to do.

So lets me honest about what I am about to do here. I want to write a post that will get lots of hits such that more people might see that I have a book coming out and buy it so that I can spend more time writing posts like this one.

It's all very self fulfilling.

A lot of lists like this exisit and then get shot down with "what about this" and "that race is a joke". The problem is that "That race" has a hold on editors and publishers such that it has to be mentioned by law in any list where the dreaded "T" word is in the article title. I think journalists are in a hard place here.

So here is a list of really tough things I one day want to finish. 

The Spine

I was signed up to do this in the month just gone but decided I didn't want to wreck myself for the rest of the year. I sort of regret this having seen all the fun that was had on the Pennine Way. A 268 mile non-stop point-to-point slog along the "spine" of England in winter. British winter which is usually quite variable but leaves a muddy trail whatever. There were a lot of great stories of success and DNF this year. I would like to do this next year but will depend on having enough time off.

Did I tell you I had a book coming out?

Hardrock 100

Only about 0.5% of people who apply finish this race. That's because only about 1% actually get in. I really want to do this but it looks unlikely with the popularity. I am told that this is regarded as the most scenic ultra marathon in the world which I really want to see. It sounds bloody hard though. 12000ft of elevation (total elevation is one of those measures that we ultra runners like to swing our dicks about) makes it more gain that the cheese race around Mt Blanc. Not only that but it is all at high altitude and equivalent to constant stair climbing with a sock in your mouth (luckily that's another weekend hobby of mine).

One day I will get in and then off to do it. 

Coast to Kosci

This was kind of a bit like the Spartathlon, I think. It's 153 miles going from sea level in Australia to the Highest point, the top of Mount Kosciuzsko (strange name for an Australian mountain, I would have thought they would call it "Great Big Bloody Mountain"). It is a Fatass style event with little support and limited to 50 entrants per year. Will have to do that one time if I have enough money to fly over there. 

I guess that depends on the sales of my book

The Big Cockslam

OK I was not sure of which of Mark Cockbain's really tough races would be part of this so am going to group them all up and say they are all worthy of a place (it's my list so I make the rules). Shortly we will see the 3rd running of the 147 viking way race through miles of English mud. ONly about 20% of people finish this. Next is the Coast to Coast race which has not run yet (and I may do this). A low support crossing of the UK from West to East over 140 miles. Mark has made the cut-off quite tight at 38 hours (probably wanting to get into Newcastle before the sun comes back up). 

Third is the Cockslam Trilogy is the now infamous "The Hill" race. 1 finisher out of lots last year, the incredible Jon Steele who went up the Hill like Jack and Jill 55 times in 48 hours. 

The Piece of String Race

What kind of sick race would they not tell you how far you had to run to the finish line? The kind of race that would make most peoples heads explode with torture. Well most people of that ilk won't apply for this race anyway but many do and they find it really hard. The first year the runners ran/swam about 115 miles (2 finished out of 10) when they were told they had finished. The second year the runners ran 100 meters and then were driven away 100 miles to the middle of nowhere (Bath) and told to run away to the sea, and then back again, and then all manor of head f****g until two runners finished the 135 miles. 

What will it be this year? Who knows? Maybe the answers are in this book.

And the problem with this race is that I need a really sick f**k to organise such a thing.

Sri Chimoy 3100

This is currently ON my list. It on and off and on and off more frequently that Katie Price on a cage fighter.

It's simple, you run 3100 miles around a loop of less than a mile in a suburb of New York. My wife is very supportive of this idea so long as she can come along and just faff about in New York. I have already run 3200 miles in the USA which you can read about this most excellent book when it comes out. It's a simple race to 3100 miles with 18 hours of running allowed per day I think. 

Tor De Geants

This looks absolutely nuts. 200 miles of climbing in the mountains. It's like the UTMB but twice over with more hills and less cheese. Along a trail next to the highest mountains in the Alps with around 24000ft of uppitydowny. Read Nick Hollons great blog post about his race last year. 

Arrowhead 135

I met someone earlier this week who lost part of a finger in the really quite cold temperatures of this race. It's a 135 run (slide/pull) in Michigan which in January can be really quite cold, even without the polar vortex that engulfed North America this year. You can do it on a bike too but that is cheating.


The only one of the races I have attempted and my effort was pretty feeble. Often dismissed as "not a proper race" because the race course has a chance of winning. It's rather like calling Boxing "not a proper sport" because the opponent has a chance of winning and then saying bullfighting is. 

Anyhoo, why is this jolly hard. Well the race has been designed to be on the edge of what is possible by a very well trained and fit human. To cover 100 miles of this terrain in 60 hours I think puts you up there with Tour De France in terms of fitness (without the drugs). It's hard because you need to be going for all the 60 hours, the climbing is insane and the terrain is gnarley and slippy. It is an effort standing still. 

I made one feeble attempt at it a couple of years ago and I will return to give it a better go. I need to be insanely fit though.

The Luton Marathon.

6 times I have attempted this race and 6 times I have not even made it to mile 1. My history of this race goes something like this.

2007 - Sign up for race, get too drunk the night before and oversleep and miss it

2008 - Get to the start of race but it gets cancelled as there is a car crash on the course

2009 - Sign up for race, get a bit injured before the race and drop out

2010 - Sign up for race, get too drunk the night before and oversleep and miss it

2011 - Sign up for race, it rains (in Novemeber in the UK) and race gets cancelled

2012 - Sign up for race, get psyched out by the prospect of having to run around Luton three times. Stay in the comfort of my own home until it all blows over

And now the race not longer exists. 

It will always be the one that got away....

Maybe I should write a book about it.