Which Running Race Requires the Most Mental Toughness?

Most races have a finish line, but competitors in the annual Big's Backyard Ultra know that the only line they have to cross is inside them. It's the one that says, "Don't stop until everyone else has." Since 2012, brave and stamina-obsessed runners have been coming to Bell Buckle, Tennessee, to complete a 4.166667-mile loop (6.705-km) every hour for days on end. To win, you have to be the only one still running. The invention of Gary Cantrell, the race has grown more competitive every year. In 2019, the "Last Man Standing" competition was won by a woman for the first time. Maggie Guterl of Durango, Colorado, stuck it out for 60 hours, running a distance of 250 miles (402 km) to grab the title. Guterl, who dropped out of the race a year before after 180 miles (290 km), said she took the words of that year's winner to heart in order to stay the course. "Johan Steene told me he told himself that he was just not going to quit in 2018, which took out the decision-making process for him during the race," Guterl told Runner's World. Steene set the course record on his way to victory, running 283.335 miles (455.983 km) in 67 hours, 48 minutes. For those with a lot of ambition and leg strength, the 2020 race is scheduled for October 17.

What's your hurry?

  • Running has been shown to boost the immune system, increase bone density strength, and lower "bad" cholesterol.
  • Serge Girard of France holds the record for longest distance run in a year, covering 16,783 miles (27,011 km) in 25 countries between 2009 and 2010.
  • You burn between 3 percent and 7 percent more calories by running outside rather than on a treadmill.
More Info: Runner's World

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