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The World’s Strangest Races: Unusual Running Events That Exist

wife carrying race in finland

The joy of running usually comes from the simple rhythm of putting one foot in front of the other. But let’s face it, sometimes it’s fun to mix things up a bit! In the spirit of wacky, wild and utterly weird, we present to you some of the strangest running events on the planet. Buckle up, because this is going to be a wild ride!

The Beer Mile in Leuven, Belgium

Hold onto your pint glasses, folks, because the Beer Mile is a real event! This unique race demands not only physical prowess but also an iron-clad stomach. The rules are simple: drink a beer, run a quarter mile, and repeat until you’ve completed a full mile (and four beers). It’s a strange mix of fun, froth, and frantic running.

Our resident personal trainer and running expert says, “The Beer Mile is a real test of endurance and, um, digestive fortitude. It adds a whole new level to the phrase ‘liquid courage’. Just remember, moderation is key, even in the world of beer-infused athletics!”

beer mile marathon

The Underwater Marathon in Florida Keys

Yes, you read that right! The Underwater Marathon is held annually at the Bottom of the Sea in the Florida Keys. Contestants run the 42.2km course on the seabed, wearing weighted belts and helmets filled with compressed air.

The personal trainer chimes in: “Not only is this race an incredible feat of endurance, it’s also a fantastic test of mental strength. Plus, it’s a great way to engage different muscles compared to a land-based run. It’s a complete game-changer, and the sea life views are unbeatable!”

Man vs. Horse Marathon

Believe it or not, in a small Welsh town, humans have been racing against horses since 1980. The Man vs. Horse Marathon is a gruelling 22-mile race that pits two-legged runners against four-legged competitors. And in case you were wondering, yes, a human has won the race before – twice, in fact!

Our personal trainer can’t help but chuckle, “The thrill of competing against a horse is exhilarating and completely surreal. It’s a unique way to test your speed, endurance, and perhaps, give you a newfound respect for our equestrian friends.”

The Wife Carrying Race

This quirky event originated in Finland and has spread worldwide. The Wife Carrying Race involves husbands racing a 253.5-metre obstacle course, all while carrying their wives. The prize? The wife’s weight in beer, of course!

From our expert, “This race is about balance, strength, and trust. It’s a fun, albeit odd, way to promote teamwork and communication between couples. Plus, the beer prize adds a celebratory touch to the finish line!”

wife carrying race in finland

What do we all think?

In the grand scheme of things, whether you’re running on the seafloor or carrying your spouse through an obstacle course, these unusual races remind us that running is about more than just speed and distance. It’s about community, adventure, and sometimes, just plain silliness.

As our personal trainer wraps it up, “These races may seem bizarre, but they capture the spirit of what makes running so special – the sense of fun, the challenge, and the camaraderie. In the end, it’s about breaking free from the norm, pushing your boundaries, and embracing the joy of running, however that may look!”

So, what are you waiting for? Grab those trainers, step out of your comfort zone and register for one of these wild races!

Andy Barr
the authorAndy Barr
Editorial Lead
Andy was late arriving into the world of fitness, running and training. He did not really take up regular gym going until he was in his late 30's. He lost over 7 stone in weight since starting and completed an olympic length triathlon in June 2018. He enjoys playing football, boxing and outdoor running.

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