Engineer, adventurer, and entrepreneur Carl Byington serves as the president and chief officer of PHM Design, LLC in Ellijay GA. He has had a successful career with several companies over the years including Sikorsky Aircraft and Lockheed Martin in Rochester, NY. In his free time, Carl Byington is a long-distance runner and trekker who has completed marathons all around the world.
Many long-distance runners have a desire to challenge themselves while also experiencing unique parts of the world. Here are some of the most extreme races for those with both wanderlust and a taste for adventure.
The Jungle Ultra. This 143-mile ultramarathon takes competitors through the Amazonian rainforests of Peru, beginning 10,000 feet above sea level and cutting across the mountains in the intense humidity. Runners are responsible for carrying their own supplies, including food, but water is supplied along the way.
Spartathlon. This 155-mile race in Greece honors the original marathon runner, Pheidippides, who famously ran from Marathon to Athens and allegedly also to Sparta as a messenger from the battle between the Greeks and the Persians. The Spartathlon retraces the ancient Greek’s steps, but with time limits at 75 race stations along the way. Runners must meet each time limit in order to continue the race.
Great Wall of China Marathon. Though this is a standard-length marathon, the many staircases of the Great Wall pose enormous challenges for participants who will have to traverse 5,164 steps in hot and humid weather, and must finish the race in 8 hours.
Marathon des Sables, which is French for Marathon of the Sands and also known as Sahara Marathon is a 156 mile ultramarathon. This distance is approximately equivalent to six regular marathons that are run back to back each day. Since 1986, this multi-day race is held every year in southern Morocco and the Sahara Desert. It has been regarded as the toughest foot race on Earth.
There are several others such as the Antarctic Ice Marathon, North Pole Marathon, Everest Marathon, and other ultramarathon distance races that you can find to provide amazing challenges in incredible places.
Carl Byington ran the Antarctic Ice Marathon in 2012 and plans to run the North Pole Marathon in 2021 if Covid-19 travel restrictions allow.