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What’s Next? Extremely Extreme

You know how we stretch our limits, raise the bar, push the envelope. Having completed three ultra marathons this year, I’ve been thinking about how to up the ante next year, but in searching the internet for all kinds of event, I have learned there really are no limits. For every extreme event you think you have done or can do, there is always someone willing to do something more insanely extreme.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around an ironman, but there are two double ironman triathlons in N. America; one in Virginia and one in Quebec, Canada. If that doesn’t satisfy the need for pain, there is the Odyssey Triple Ironman or Le Defi Mondial de l’Endurance, consisting of a 7.2-mile swim, 336-mile bike ride, and a 78.6-mile run. Organizers actually have to cut off registration for these events when they fill up although they only accept a few dozen lunatics.

There is something alluring about fastpacking. More popular in Europe, it’s about taking as little gear as possible so you can run greater distances over a period of days in the wilderness unhampered. And I really want to find a good partner or team for adventure racing, combining orienteering, navigation, mountain biking, kayaking, and trail running. A multi-day expedition event sounds awesome, with event names like The Beast, Raid Gauloises, Eco-Challenge, and Southern Traverse.

Then there is the Enduroman series. Take the Arch to Arc, for example. Run 87 miles from London to Dover. Then swim the English Channel. Then bike 180 miles from Calais to Paris. Only four athletes in history have completed it. For the endurance junkie who doesn’t have a life and can cough up the $1600 entry fee, there is Enduroman Deca Iron Triathlon. (Deca = 10 x ironman.) Too big and far for just one country, this unbelievable ultra distance course runs through England and Wales. After a 24-mile warm-up swim, it’s just an 1,120-mile bike followed by a 262-mile run. The record is 81 hours, 5 minutes; cut-off is 11 – 13 days.

Do I have what it takes to join the most elite ultra endurance club in the world? No, I do not. But I know I will continue to push myself to try the next big thing.

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