The 5 most bizarre races ever
26 April marks one of the highlights of the British sporting calendar as runners gear up for this year’s London Marathon. If you missed out on taking part, or are feeling inspired to sign up for an event, check out these lesser-known (and ever-so-slightly crazy) races taking place across the world…
Wife Carrying World Championships have been held annually in Sonkajärvi, Finland, since 1992, and involve – as you may expect – male competitors carrying a wife (not necessarily their own) through an obstacle track in the fastest time, to win their wife’s weight in beer. Men can choose from several types of carrying styles to escort their female teammates across the finish line, including the piggyback, the fireman’s carry, or, incredibly, Estonian style – which involves the wife hanging upside down with her legs around the man’s shoulders!
Running of the nudes
If the thought of hundreds of people racing to a finish line wearing nothing more than a red scarf and plastic horns fills you with dread, this may not be the event for you! This event, organised by PETA activists, takes part in Pamplona two days before the Running of the Bulls to protest against animal cruelty and bullfighting. Well, that’s one way to make a statement…
Siberian Black Ice Race
Marathon too easy for you? Tough Mudder a mere walk in the park? Well, why not sign up for perhaps the most extreme race of all time, which takes place at Lake Baikal, Siberia, the world’s oldest and deepest ice lake. Starting in the ancient Cossack city of Irkutsk, participants can cycle, ski, run, walk, kite-ski or kite buggy across the black ice, aiming to complete the 115 or 379 mile courses over a deadline of one or two weeks, while braving temperatures of -40°C and winds of up to 100km/h!
Man verses horse marathon
The Man verses Horse marathon, which takes place in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales, each year, began in 1980 following a pub debate over the merits of men and horses running cross-country. Settling the debate quite nicely – and perhaps to the surprise of no one else – it took 25 years until a man finally beat a horse, when Huw Lobb victoriously crossed the finish line of the 22-mile course with a time of 2:05:19.
Need some extra motivation for your run? How about being chased by flesh-eating zombies? That’s the premise of the many zombie-based events taking place across the UK and the world, including the Zombie Evacuation 5km (zombieevacuation.com) and the Zombie Mud Run (thezombiemudrun.com). The races feature volunteers dressed up as zombies, whose aim is to catch participants before they finish the race. Can you escape from the undead without joining their ranks? Only the fittest will survive!