Friday Five: 5 Awesome Outdoor Adventures

Sometimes, an ordinary race just doesn’t cut it. People want more adventure, more crazy things that they can do to test the boundaries of human endurance. Well, more power to them. In light of this recent article about the insanely difficult Barkley Marathons, we got to thinking about what other outdoor adventures would be awesome to someday achieve. Set your goals high for this one.

1. Swim the English Channel

Remarkably, thousands have attempted this 21-mile swim across the Channel, with nearly 3,000 swimmers completing the journey either solo or with a team. What makes it difficult? Well, the 21 miles to start. But factor in tide, water temperature, and a few more uncontrollable factors, and you’ve got yourself a heck of a swim ahead of you. Average finishing time for a solo swimmer: 13 hours, 24 minutes, 46 seconds. Try doing that at your gym.

2. Bike Across the United States

What better way to see the country than on a bike? You can choose your own route, go places cars can’t, and get in really good shape doing it. Traversing the U.S. via bike has been done a lot, but that shouldn’t take away from the fantastic accomplishment of taking weeks to ride thousands of miles. Plus, many do it for charitable purposes, which is always good, too.

3. Run the Great Wall of China

First of all, not the whole thing. Archaeological surveys have estimated that the Great Wall and its branches are a total of 13,171 miles long, so spanning the Wall is probably out of the question. However, marathoners interested in an extreme event can enter the Great Wall Marathon (sold out for 2013), which includes a 7-day trip to China. The marathon covers 5,164 steps over the 26.2-mile span, and therefore is widely considered one of the most difficult marathons in the world. Definitely a life-changing experience.

4. Marathon des Sables

The Toughest Footrace on Earth. Six days in the Sahara Desert with temperatures over 100 Fahrenheit, running a total of 150-156 miles. The longest day: 81.5K (51 miles). Crazy, right? Absolutely. But for whatever reason, people love it, and continue to do it. Running 156 miles over six days (including a rest day) is difficult enough to do in the desert, but don’t forget about your backpack, because someone has to carry that too (no surprise, it’s you!).

5. Climb Mt. Everest

Can’t forget this one. 660 climbers have made it to the summit of the 29,028-foot behemoth (Source). The climb has gotten significantly safer as of late with better climbing technology and a better understanding of the ferocity of the mountain, but to scale a mountain more than five miles high is still an amazing accomplishment. Imagine standing higher than any human in the world. Pretty cool, huh?

Thoughts? How did we do? What outdoor adventures would  you do?

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