12 Top Endurance Races featuring #CostumeRacers; It is Halloween after all!

Zombie

So as we all eagerly prepare our costumes for All Hallows Eve (I don’t think we will get trick or treaters in the condos of Singapore expat community!) and Twitter becomes filled with #Halloween hashtags; I am guilty also!

I thought I would touch on some of the most notable events or racers which like the challenge of dressing up. WARNING The entries below are a funny mixture of stupidity, bravery, stubbornness and novelty, complete with some very interesting running sores no doubt!

1. Vincent O’Neill, 89Km Comrades Marathon, South Africa

Rhino finish

The Rhino runner Vincent O’Neill, supported by Asics – I must admit I like there tagline ‘Better Your Best’, followed on from his entry in the 2012 London Marathon (also in a Rhino suit and with the fastest time in Save the Rhino’s history of 4hr 17min [makes you think you should up your game right?]) with a 10hour 38 minute finishing time at the 89km Comrades Marathon. Immense.

Apparently the race was one of the hottest in recent years which must have been just an additional factor with all that chafing in the 11kg suit! Hats off to you Vincent, and we salute your effort to raise funds & awareness to fight rhino poaching.

2. Bogsnorkelling Triathlon in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales

Try not to shallow a lot of water!

Try not to shallow a lot of water!

The Bog Triathlon first ran in 2005, following a demand for more dirty fun around our famous Waen Rhydd Bog. Whilst embracing the local flora & fauna, competitors will run 7.5 mile run followed by 2 lengths of the 60 yard peat bog trench and then a 19 mile mountain cycle. Make sure you have a shower afterwards!

Check out more on the race and other barney events (bath-tub paddling, penny farthing racing etc) http://www.green-events.co.uk/events.html?id=56

3. Chariot Racing in in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales

Chariot

I wonder if you are allowed to get the spikey bit to stick out the wheels of the cart!?!?

So I couldn’t literally make a list of fancy-dress events from Green Events in Wales, but alongside the ‘traditional’ Bog snorkeling (and one more event to feature later) I have put this gem in. Held in conjunction with the Saturnalia Winter Warmer Real Ale Festival in November this event finally lets you put tha old mountain bike to good use! Bring a good rain jacket though……it is Wales….in winter……..

I loved Ben Hur and always wanted to be a Roman when I grew up. Enough said. (Details here: http://www.green-events.co.uk/events.html?page=3)

4.  Hairy Gorilla Half Marathon, Voorheesville, NY -‘Best Costume Trial Race in the Americas’ – RunnersWorld ‘The Trail’ 2012

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Run this year on Sunday 27th October, costumed runners are supported by a host of fancy dress volunteers on a course that runs through Albany Running Exchange’s version of a graveyard. If a half is not your thing, there is always the Squirelly Six mile run. (Details here: http://www.albanyrunningexchange.org/hgh/)

5. Day of the Dead Cyclocross Festival, Oregon

Not just Zombies....unless that fly is on a dead frog!

Not just Zombies….unless that fly is on a dead frog!

1,980 riders in a festival mash-up at Bend, Oregon where the ingredients are comprised of bikes, beer (you gotta have beer), and the dead…..and yes possibly a few random costumes….

A festival of dust, bikes and the dead

A festival of dust, bikes and the dead

And beer!

And beer!

6. Lloyd Scott, The ultimate charity runner

Lloyd is most notable for competing in the 2002 London Marathon in a deep-sea diving costume during which he broke the world record for slowest marathon time. The diving suit he wore is now on display at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London. The number he wore is still attached to the suit on display.

Lloyd is most notable for competing in the 2002 London Marathon in a deep-sea diving costume during which he broke the world record for slowest marathon time. The diving suit he wore is now on display at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London. The number he wore is still attached to the suit on display.

Lloyd Scott, MBE, was back in the day an English former pro football goalie but is now an unstoppable charity fundraiser, best known in the UK for his charity marathons. After surviving leukaemia  Scott has raised more than £5 million for a number of charitable causes, through what he calls “alternative charity fundraising events”, including the list below. Note this is only a highlight and is still epically long. Read down it with a smile and then tweet him some support – @

• April 1989: London Marathon – Just 3 weeks before life saving bone marrow transplant for leukaemia

• November 1993: Everest Marathon – Staged 18,000 feet up the world’s highest peak

• May 1996: Sahara Marathon des Sables – 150 mile ultra marathon carrying all equipment.

• Oct – Jan 96-97: Scott 2 the South Pole – Expedition to the South Pole

• March 1997: 125 mile Devizes to Westminster canoe marathon

• July 1998: Completed 135 mile Death Valley ultra marathon in 140 degrees of heat

• Feb 2001: Climbed Mt Aconcagua, Argentina (22,841ft)

• October 2001: 168km Jordan Desert Cup ultra marathon – dressed as Indiana Jones

• April 2002: London Marathon in deep-sea diving suit – Taking 5 days, 8 hours, 29 mins and 46 seconds to complete; followed by New York CIty & Edinburgh marathons

• August 2003: Completed the Marathon of Britain – 175 mile ultra marathon

• October 2003: Completed the world’s first underwater marathon in deep-sea diving suit in Loch Ness – taking 12 days

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• Oct-Dec 2004: Cycled Penny Farthing across Australia – Perth to Sydney nearly 3,000 miles taking 50 days

• May 2005: ‘Swam’ from John O’Groats to Land’s End in swimming pool on back of a lorry, taking 12 days

• September 2005: Completed Great North Run in Apollo 17 spacesuit on bouncy stilts

• April 2006: Completed London Marathon as St George in 100lb suit of armour, pulling 200 lb dragon, taking over 8 days. Helped Sir Steve Redgrave break world fundraising record of £1.8 million

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• April 2007: Completed London Marathon as Indiana Jones – ‘chased’ (but really pulling) 350 lb boulder around course

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• May 2007: Trekked the Inca trail to Machu Picchu

• April 2008: London Marathon as Iron Giant – 9 feet tall robot, weighing 70 lbs, on stilts taking 6 days

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• April 2009: London Marathon as The Beatles (Sgt Pepper uniforms) in the Yellow Submarine

• July – Sept 2009: Land’s End to John O’Groats walk with life size tyrannosaurus rex – ‘T-Rex Treks’ taking 72 days, raising £175,000 for Teenage Cancer Trust

• June 2010 – World’s deepest underground marathon, 12,000 feet down at bottom of world’s deepest mine in, South Africa – sever heat and humidity over 2 miles underground

• April – May 2011: Magic Marathon – dragged around London Marathon as Brian the Snail from the Magic roundabout, taking 27 days

7. Las Vegas Great Santa Run

Like being back in school

Like being back in school

“Now in its 8th year, the Las Vegas Great Santa Run has raised millions of dollars for Opportunity Village and individuals with disabilities. The Great Santa Run has become a must for visitors, a community involvement activity for local businesses, a holiday tradition for families and an international spectacle.”

And for those weekend stag parties it would be the most surreal hangover walking out on this! Not to mention probably strikes an element of fear (:P) – is it just me or does anyone else think a Santa race is just one down from a clown race?!?!

8. Man vs Horse, llanwrtyd Wells, Wales

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According to legend this race was created after a drunken argument in the local pub, Neuadd Arms, in 1980, whereby it was suggested that over a significant distance across country, a man was equal to any horse. It was only in 2004, on the 25th race that a man finally beat the horse at 2hours 5minutes and 19 seconds – although after cyclists were allowed in in 1985, Tim Gould beat the first horse by 3 minutes in 1989 – don’t think your 2 wheeled friend is allowed now though! The 2013 race attracted an entry of 65 horses, with 44 completing the course, enabling it to lay claim to being “the world’s largest horse race”. Gripping stuff right? I actually missed out in a chance to do this because of an injury in the Cork marathon, it’s definitely on the list!

You can find out more on wiki of course http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Man_versus_Horse_Marathon

Highlights from last year are here:

9 Wife carrying championship

Lets hope this man doesn't just put his head between her thighs during the day....

Lets hope this man doesn’t just put his head between her thighs during the day….

Wife carrying  is a weird viking sport in which male competitors race while each carrying their ‘wife’. The World Championship claims it has been held annually in Sonkajarvi, Finland since 1992, but I have been to some of those places in Scandinavia and Siberia, and there must be some nomad tribes competing in the depths of winter ever since they raped & pillaged the collapsing Roman Empire or parts of Middlesbrough.

The objective is for the male to carry the female through a special obstacle track in the fastest time. Several types of carry may be practised: piggyback, fireman’s carry (over the shoulder), or Estonian-style (the wife hangs upside-down with her legs around the husband’s shoulders, holding onto his waist). The competition also has probably the best prize in sport – your wife’s weight in beer!

Of course this entry wouldn’t be complete without a video

10. Formula H20

Whale racing can only be next.......

Whale racing can only be next…….

Formula H2O Racing is the weird and wonderful sport that features scuba divers competing on diver propulsion vehicles (DPV) around the superstructure of artificial reefs. Didn’t see this at my University fresher’s fair!!

According to Natalie Oriente the Marketing Director for the The Wreck Racing League, Formula H2O racing is a “way to showcase the underwater sights and provide a level of competition not previously available to recreational scuba divers”. Refreshingly the sport also aims to highlight the need for artificial reefs; so a tad more environmental than Formula 1 gas gurgling monster machines and parades of beautiful women – statement of fact rather than a criticism, the movie Rush is currently hot on the mind I must say.

If I have you interested, check out; this video from youtube (insert isn’t working atm: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th7KSWuP3xU&list=PLEE75403985368037

Or the league website: http://wreckracingleague.com/

11. World Naked Bike Race, Global

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The World Naked Bike Ride (WNBR) is an international clothing-optional bike ride in which participants plan, meet and ride together en masse on human-powered transport (the vast majority on bicycles but some on skateboards). So if you have been walking through a major city on a warm sunny day and a load of naked people cycled by this was probably it. And sorry nudists, our capitalist, materialistic world has made clothing compulsory so I will put this in the fancy dress category – German nudists aside!

The dress code motto is “bare as you dare” and I love the wiki quote:

“There is no mandate to cover intimate parts; this is a distinguishing feature of the WNBR against other cycling events.”

You can check out the history of this novelty of human social creativity on wiki, but basically there was lots of Naked Bike Rides – mainly German – but in 2003 Conrad Schmidt conceived the World Naked Bike Ride after organising the Naked Bike Rides of the group Artists for Peace/Artists Against War (AFP/AAW); with the first WNBR event in 2004 being a collaboration between the WNBR group (riding on 12 June) and Manifestación Ciclonudista in Spain (riding on 19 June), establishing a precedent as a solstitial Saturday observance.

You can google your own youtube videos, you pervs.

12. ‘Nasa Astronaunt does Boston marathon in space’

So how do you conclude this weird and whacky list of fancy dress running, cycling and holding one’s breath. Well I googled the final frontier.

A bit surreal, no falling down on this marathon attempt!

A bit surreal, no falling down on this marathon attempt!

210 miles above Earth, Expedition 15 crew member Sunita Williams attempted something no other astronaut has ever done. She ran the Boston Marathon while in orbit on a station treadmill, finishing in a time of 4:23:10 (which for the physics geeks out there was 8mph on the treadmill but flying around the Earth 5 miles a second – circling the planet at least twice). The Boston Athletic Association had issued Williams bib number 14,000, which had been sent electronically to NASA and then forwarded it to Williams.

I have no doubt this achieved her goal – “ to encourage kids to start making physical fitness part of their daily lives. I thought a big goal like a marathon would help get this message out there.” – Sunita Williams.

But the story continues and Sunita also did the Nautica Malibu Triathlon “held in Southern California” using exercise equipment, including a stationary bike, treadmill and strength-training machine specially formulated for weightlessness, to simulate the triathlon experience in space. Her finishing time was 1:48:33  after “swimming” half a mile (0.8 km), biking 18 miles (29 km), and running 4 miles (6.4 km).

Makes you ask what did you do this week right? Some more casual reading on this off-world endurance test can be found at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/18/sunita-williams-triathlon-space-nasa_n_1892893.html

Thus concludes our list today

So if you are planning to do something stupid over the next 12 months and don’t mind a bit of chaffing, I hope this blog has stimulated some ideas!

After my own attempt at stupid costumes in the Great North Run I can fully agree - Chafing is a serious problem!

After my own attempt at stupid costumes in the Great North Run I can fully agree – Chafing is a serious problem!

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