One of the greatest things about sport is the completive nature. Whether it’s beating others or your personal bests, it’s one of the best ways to test both physical and mental strength.
For many, taking on the toughest fitness challenges is the perfect way to take their sporting exploits to another level. Moreover, it can be a fantastic option for those wanting to complete charity fundraising.
The UK is home to many fitness challenges over the year. Here are 10 of the toughest:
10) Tough Mudder
The Tough Mudder series has become one of the most iconic on the planet. The 10-12 mile fitness challenges will push teams to the limit. The obstacles on the course will test mental strength almost as much as physical strength.
Events take place across the planet, and there are a number of events in the UK. The London events are amongst the most popular, and it’s not hard to see why. The only reason this one doesn’t feature higher on the list is that it’s arguably the most fun.
Seriously, the atmosphere and camaraderie are second to none.
9) The Coniston Swim
Swimming can be one of the most relaxing sporting activities available. But the only thing chilled about this epic 5.25-mile swim is the Lakeland fells water.
This is not a course that should be taken if you aren’t an extremely strong swimmer. Even if you are, it’s one of the biggest tests that this sport has to offer. On a brighter note, the feeling of elation upon completion is something that money cannot buy.
If swimming is your passion, this is the one for you.
8) Caledonian Challenge
The UK might not be known for its mountains and high peaks. However, the Caledonian Challenge is one of the few fitness challenges that will push entrants to the limit.
Each team has 24 hours to complete the 54-mile trek. The highlight comes from climbing the Devil’s Staircase. It’s certainly not one for the weak-minded, but the sights along the route are breathtakingly beautiful.
Just be sure that you’ve got decent footwear. The last thing you need on top of the leg pain is blisters!
7) Etape du Dales
Cycling might not stand out as a particularly gruelling sport. After all, there’s nothing quite as relaxing as a Sunday morning ride. But when you throw in big climbs and an 180km journey, the emphasis turns from enjoyment to endurance.
The course includes the iconic Yorkshire stretch from the 2014 Tour de France. It has to be considered Britain’s toughest cycling challenge. On the other hand, completing it will provide a sensation like no other.
If you’ve previously completed rides like London to Brighton, this might be the next logical step.
6) Survival Of The Fittest
The Men’s Health Survival of the Fittest does include 5km distances. But the 10km race takes the challenge to a new level altogether. With over 50 obstacles on each course, they are renowned for being the biggest urban events of their nature.
Our favourite course is Nottingham, which is where the original event takes place. However, with Cardiff, Manchester, London and Edinburgh included, every athlete should be able to find a course for them.
5) London Marathon
When it comes to endurance sporting achievements, running a marathon is the one that appears on most people’s bucket lists. In truth, they don’t come any bigger than London.
The gruelling 26.2 miles is certainly challenging. However, the combination of atmosphere and iconic stretches along the infamous route make it one of the most enjoyable too. Do be warned, though, getting a place through the ballot is particularly difficult. Don’t assume that you’ll get accepted at the first attempt.
When you eventually do, make sure you train. After all, it’s one of the toughest tasks you’ll ever face.
4) Ultra Race
Think running a marathon is tough? Well, add another 13.1 miles and you’re left with the Derbyshire Ultra Race.
With plenty of inclines along the route, the 40-mile run is easily one of the most challenging that the UK has to offer. One thing’s for sure; it’s not one to be entered without a suitable of training.
Having said that, it’s an event that will last in the memory for a lifetime. If you’re an experienced runner looking for the ultimate test of fitness and mental strength, then this is the perfect solution.
3) Tough Guy
The original Tough Guy challenge started way back in 1987 and has been a favourite amongst UK endurance athletes ever since. When looking at the 15-mile course of over 200 obstacles, it isn’t difficult to see why.
Held in Wolverhampton, it’s one of the first big events of the calendar year. Quite frankly, it’s the perfect challenge to start your greatest year of personal fitness.
If you do sign up, however, you might want to hold back on the Christmas festivities. It’s hard enough even when you’re at your peak.
2) 24 Ultra Run
The clue is in the title for this one. Non-stop running for a full 24 hours. Sound gruelling? It is.
Speed might not be as important as it is with other races. But as far as personal challenges go, this is certainly up there. Finding the mental strength to carry on when your body is being pushed to the limit is no easy feat.
Even the ‘beginner’ 50-mile night run is a challenge.
1) IRONMAN UK
The Ironman triathlon series has become the most iconic in world sport. It’s also noted for being the most gruelling. The annual UK event takes place in Bolton and is widely regarded the toughest endurance challenge in the country.
A 2.4-mile swim of Pennington Flash is followed by an 112-mile cycle. The third leg of the triathlon is a full 26.2-mile marathon. In truth, all three fitness challenges are enough to test any athlete. Only the best should sign up for this type of challenge.
But completing the challenge within the 17-hour limit will signal the pinnacle of your sporting endeavours.