And You Thought Your Start To The Year Was Tough

If you think slogging your way through 2020 will be a bit gruelling, spare a thought for the nutjobs who endure the most gruelling races on Earth.

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Jungle Ultra
Competitors cover 230 km of suffocating Peruvian jungle undergrowth in a five-stage, self-supported slog that drops 10,500 feet to the jungle floor and crosses some 70 tropical rivers and streams. That’s all while battling bugs and 30-plus-degree temperatures. Two words: Y tho? 

La Ruta de los Conquistadores
Billed as the “toughest mountain bike course on the planet,” this is the only bike race that traverses the American land mass from coast to coast. The course changes annually, but you’re guaranteed high-altitude peaks, active volcanoes, knee-deep mud, sand and poison dart frogs over four hellishly difficult stages that climb 29,000 feet over 260 soul-sapping kilometres. 

Volvo Ocean Race
Every three years, the longest sporting event in the world challenges fearless sailors to race 38,739 nautical miles, traversing four oceans and five continents. Teams of 11 sail non-stop between ports during a nine-month ordeal, where you can enjoy frigid temperatures and the promise of no fresh food on your vessel. Tempting!

Big’s Backyard Ultra
Starting early in the morning at 40 minutes past the hour, competitors are asked to complete a simple 7 km loop trail around a farm in Tennessee. Sounds easy, right? Yeah… except they have to do this at 40 minutes past the hour every hour until—as exhausted contestants gradually drop out—there remains only one who is prepared to do the run. Will it be you? (No.)