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The 8 Strangest Footraces from Around the World

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“On your mark, get set, go!” These are the famous would we hear right before runners leave a trail of dust in the path of their competitors.  But what happens when we’ve combined the world-class sport with out-of-the-box places and situations?  We get these eight extraordinary marathons that build strength, character, and most importantly an unforgettable experience.

At the Glow 5K, the faster the runners reach the finish line, the sooner they can dance the night away at the after party. But the celebration doesn’t begin at the after party — in fact, the race is where the party starts.  A DJ blasts music through the air while participators decked-out in glow-in-the dark accessories make their way down the 3.1-mile course either running, dancing or walking.  With registration, participants are given a customary 3.5" glowing Finisher's Medal, the Glow Run T-shirt, as well as their glow-in-the dark items so they can sparkle during this nightly event.

Regardless of your size and athleticism, the Glow 5K is one race where it is not so much about coming first but more about having a good time while make your way to the finish line.

Siberia, Russia: International Baikal Ice Marathon

Forget about the paved roads and fans cheering from the sidelines. This marathon is located in such cold conditions your supporters may think you’re absolutely crazy for attempting this feat.When the waters of Lake Baikal have completely transformed into ice, runners take their marks to begin a long, frigid run to the finish line.  If racing on ice seems unintimidating, then attempt running 1,400 feet right on top of a scintillating freshwater lake.   The International Baikal Ice Marathon is an extraordinary run in its own merit by giving participants the chance to not only race across a frozen lake but to compete atop the deepest and largest in the world.

Just don't get cold feet.

Sahara Desert: Marathon des Sables

If you don’t mind the grueling sun beating down on your head in desert conditions, the Marathon des Sables awaits. The dynamic race has made a profound stance on earth as the most vigorous of its class with such hostile weather conditions you may have to strap everything on your back including your kitchen sink in order to survive.  From the amateur to the experienced, all types of runners are invited on this long, hot journey through the Sahara Desert.  Although it is one of the most challenging experiences, this race will definitely be timeless.

New York, NY: Empire State Building Run-Up

We’ve already proven that not all races occur along typical, paved streets. However, the Empire State Building Run-Up brings the race indoors. Hundreds of physically fit runners take the 1,576 steps of the Empire State Building by storm all in hopes of leaving their competitors behind.  With a great determination to reach the top and to raise money for their specific charities, they make running for hours on a well-concreted street look relatively easy.  Hopefully your legs won’t chicken out before you reach the 86th floor.

Laugardalur, Iceland: Midnight Sun Run

There are not many places where you can go for a run at midnight with the sun still shining brightly.  But at Iceland’s Midnight Sun Run, racers flock to the city of Laugardalur to race during the wee hours of the morning during Ireland’s solstice season.  And after working up a swear along the half marathon, 10K or 5K race, participants are welcomed to cool off in the city’s baths, hot tubs and thermal pools.  There’s no reason to be in bed by midnight when you can enjoy the sun, a good run and splashing fun.

France: Le Marathon Du Medoc

Water is refreshing during a race but to these runners it may not be as energizing as a sip of wine. Le Marathon Du Medoc is in a league of its own, routing eccentrically-dressed racers through a course of vineyards on their way to the finish line. Although water is optional, participants are more compelled to take a swig of white or red wine at the aid stations. But running through passages with names like Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Beychevelles, and Lynch-Bages you may return not only a champ but also a confirmed lover of the grape. The Le Marathon Du Medoc is one unique way the French profess their love for wine.  It’s at least a great motivator for participators wanting to exercise and get their drink on.

Locations around the U.S. (OK, mostly college campuses): Beer Mile

The concept of the Beer Mile sounds like a great idea that was brought up around a circle of keg-chugging frat boys. In fact, it is believed to have been originated on a set of college campuses in the U.S.

Consuming cans of beer and running around may seem like a drunken pastime, but for lovers of the alcoholic beverage it is all the rage. Competitors are required to drink an entire can before starting each lap. With four laps to complete, this may be one of the only races where it is quite normal to see participants stumbling across the finish line.

Hershey, PA: HydroWrox Underwater Marathon

A treadmill set in a pool may sound more dangerous than an eventful race, but contrary to many beliefs, this extraordinary marathon ensures everyone regardless of physical capabilities can take part.  Being submerged underwater causes people to weigh 80 percent less than they would on land. Also, the hydrostatic pressure of the water allows participants to run without feeling the effects of sore muscles. After this marathon you just might feel more rejuvenated than tired.

 

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