Trade in your walking shoes for some trainers next time you go see one of the world's most awesome wonders. Great adventures give you a lot to remember, but the greatest give you something to train for.
Adventure marathons and ultra marathons aren't just for lifelong runners; they're for anyone looking to put a challenge back into places that have become all too easy to see. Why walk the Inca Trail when you can run it? Who needs a walking safari when you can marathon right though one. And what's the big deal about hiking one of the most dangerous mountain trails in the world when there's a race that dashes right up it?
The running events that follow all have one thing in common — they reconfigure the stage for the world's most amazing destinations from being mere adventures, into the footraces of a lifetime. You don't have to be a professional runner to enter, though some here would be challenging to the most adept athlete. You just need to channel the tireless spirit of Shackleton, a good pair of sneakers and, as Christopher McDougall writes in Born to Run, "you'd better be fearless."
Baikal Ice Marathon, Siberia
Who: 165 runners
When: March 1, 2015
Why it's unique: The race crosses Lake Biakal in Siberia, the largest and oldest lake on Earth (it's said to be 22 million years old and contain up to 20% of the world's surface water when unfrozen) and this race's goal is to raise awareness for clean water conservation and sustainable development of the area. The course is run entirely on ice so it's pancake flat, except for some ice rubble and snow but you're fighting wind chills that blast into you at negative 5 below. [absolute-siberia.com]
Credit: Masaki Nakamura