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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Pushed to the limit: The World's Toughest Endurance Challenges [CNN]


(CNN) -- While obesity rates soar in the developed world and we live an ever more sedentary lifestyle, the flip side to this health time bomb is the paradox that more and more amateur athletes are taking on extreme endurance challenges.
Running a 42km marathon is still considered a huge achievement, but "weekend warriors" have now turned in their droves to Ironman Triathlons.
For the uninitiated, that's a 3.8km swim, 180km cycle race and the marathon to finish.
And the more offbeat the challenge, the more entrants seem to be attracted.
In Telford, England each year thousands of people take part in an eccentric event called the Tough Guy Challenge, which involves a 12km run and assault course in freezing winter conditions.

Just to make it more interesting, the organizer sets fire to parts of the course and puts in barbed wire fences and muddy bogs. Yet they come back year after year to be subjected to this torture.
Worn out just thinking about it?
The Tough Guy Challenge is a relative breeze in comparison to an Ironman race in Norway with arctic temperatures for the swim in a fjord, biking through a mountainous range, then finishing the 42km run at the top of a 1,880m peak.
That's the challenge awaiting competitors in the Norseman, one of 50 events featured in a book, theWorld's Toughest Endurance Challenges, by Richard Hoad and Paul Moore.

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