The phrase “uphill battle” is something we can all relate to. It is a feeling like everything is a little tougher than it should be, more extreme than we can sometimes handle and that there is typically very little breaks along the way. That is what defines the marathons in this category.
The races in the high altitude series are some of the most arduous events that challenge even the most seasoned athlete’s sensibilities. Extreme training and a thirst to overcome the harshest conditions the body can be subjected to, marathon runners who participate in these races can consider themselves among the best athletes around the globe. Often seeking them out among the thousands of marathons globally to choose from, specifically for the tough landscapes, these marathons are certainly in a class all their own.
One of the must grueling ultra marathon courses there is, the Madeira Island Ultra Trail is not only a long trail race, but it is also non-stop. Competitors have a maximum of 26 hours to complete the event. A fantastical tourist destination, Madeira Island has ideal weather throughout the year, scenic walks throughout, and the landscape of the Island is something close to paradise. A series of peaks and valleys, runners experience the best bird’s eye view of the Island while making their way to the finish line. The Madeira Island Ultra Marathon is definitely a course for a seasoned and well-trained athlete. If you are lucky enough to make it through, you can consider yourself one of the best runners worldwide. Conquering mountains that most will never survey in a lifetime, marathoners that take on the challenge of the Madeira Island Ultra are in a class all their own. Because it is limited to 400 total competitors, if you want to take on the challenge, reservations are recommended.
Climbing Mount Everest is a challenge that most people can’t even imagine. Racing up it is an entirely different type of challenge. Officially the highest marathon in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records, it is considered one of the most prestigious and spectacular feats that anyone can ever take on. Not just a one-day event, the participants have to train in Nepal for 26 days to acclimate to the altitude. Due to the severity of the conditions they may encounter and the hardships posed to the human body, it is not something that newbies can enter into. Although almost all downhill, there are steep sections that can at times be icy and laden with snow. Strictly trail running, only seasoned athletes with experience in rough terrain should even consider attempting the Tenzing-Hillary Everest Mountain Marathon. Known globally in running enthusiast’s circles as the race of all races, people come from various reaches of the globe join to push themselves beyond the limits of human capacity.
Considered one of America’s Ultimate Challenging races, Pikes Peaks Ascent Marathon is not for someone who is looking to get their marathon feet wet. It is the third oldest run marathon in recorded American history, and it started by a challenge between smokers versus nonsmokers. One of the toughest races on the marathon circuit, runners are subjected to a 6000-foot climb within just the first ten miles of the race, another 2000 halfway through, with the last thirteen miles being plagued by rough and rocky terrain. Started at the Memorial Park in Manitou Springs, it hits a peak and then finishes with a valley. If a runner can make this arduous course unscathed, they can consider themselves among the best athletes in the world.
Taking place in Utah, the St. George Marathon is the thirteenth largest marathon in the US. One of the steepest marathons globally, runners start the course at Pine Valley Mountain and then descend nearly 2600 feet through rough and sometimes slippery terrain. Mountainous regions filled with uneven running paths make the trail difficult for even the most seasoned marathoners and can be dangerous for newbies trying their hand at trail running. A beautiful and scenic route, it is definitely an event that separates extraordinary from ordinary athletes in the field of running.
A mountain race that has been in existence since 1987, the Harz Mountains Run Marathon takes place on the Brocken Mountain, which is the highest peak in the Harz Mountainous range in Germany. A mostly dirt trail, the route can be arduous and steep. The total descend is over 1000 meters. Runners are not only subjected to uneven trail running and hazardous conditions, but they are also surrounded by the scenic sights of densely-wooded ranges. A favorite in the racing world, each year it attracts over 3000 running enthusiasts worldwide. For something a little different, runners have to brave the great outdoors, mountainous peaks and valleys and in-climate weather. It can also be fiercely cold and windy. Not for the novice runner, this race is one to put on your “I did it” list.