10 Hardest Marathons in the World - Lady With Sneakers (2023)

If you are wondering which are the hardest marathons in the world to run, keep reading!

Being able to successfully run a marathon takes a lot of skill and effort. A regular human being shouldn’t be able to run around 42 kilometers at a time without proper training and dedication. Such attempts might lead to serious health complications or worse.

For this reason, professional athletes and marathon runners are more than prepared to tackle this challenge, and they should do that by keeping up with all the safety measures and best practices. They go on specific diets, work with coaches and personal trainers, and even purchase the finest running equipment to achieve their marathon goals.

For some, however, running a regular marathon is simply not enough – they are looking for a bigger challenge. There are some marathons only a brave few dare to tackle, and we have prepared a great guide outlining these events.

6633 Arctic Ultra

The 6633 Arctic Ultra marathon is often called the toughest marathon in the world for one particular reason – the athletes need to run in extremely cold weather and windy conditions. It is, basically, made only for people with nerves of steel, extreme physical readiness, as well as impeccable mental strength.

The goal of the 6633 Arctic Ultra is to cross a whopping distance of 563 kilometers (350 miles) in some of the harshest weather conditions in the world. The race takes place in Canada, starts in Eagle Plains (Yukon), and goes through the Arctic Circle.

The temperatures can even go down to -40 degrees Celsius, and, we tell you, this is no joke. The 6633 Arctic Ultra is also known for winds that go up to a speed of 120km/h as well.

10 Hardest Marathons in the World - Lady With Sneakers (1)

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Only 19 people have EVER completed this crazy marathon, and if you think you can do it – consider everything you’ve read here and learn more about it. We would only recommend this to the toughest of men and women in the world.

Antarctic Ice Marathon

Yet another one of those “crazy” marathons you could potentially run, the Antarctic Ice Marathon, might be interesting if you are looking for an extreme challenge. The only catch is that you’ll be running in the middle of the Antarctic at an altitude of 700 meters.

The marathon is 42.2 km long, and the organizers have prepared a running track you should follow if you decide to participate. Even more, for the safety of contenders, a snowmobile crew with first aid and help for almost every situation will be ready to act if needed.

Nevertheless, this marathon is one of the most challenging marathons in the world, and for a really good reason too. Only those who know what they are getting themselves into should attempt to complete it.

Marathon Des Sables

Contrary to both Antarctic Ice Marathon and 6633 Arctic Ultra, the Marathon Des Sables takes place in the Sahara desert.

This incredibly-challenging marathon is 251 km long, and the longest stage is a whopping 91 km long. This is approximately the distance someone would need to run six regular marathons and all of that in the middle of a desert!

10 Hardest Marathons in the World - Lady With Sneakers (2)

This marathon is held annually in southern parts of Morocco, and some people believe that it’s the longest foot race in the entire world. If you think you can handle it, make sure to practice for the specific conditions you will be running the race in. You will definitely need the prep to complete it.

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Inca Peninsula marathon

This marathon is not only difficult, but it is one of the most dangerous marathons in the world as well. It takes place in Peru, and it follows the legendary pilgrimage trial that the bravest of the Inca people had crossed on their way to “the Lost City”.

The length is “only” 42.2 km, but the track is treacherous. A lot of things can happen during the run – insect attacks, slipping, severe injury due to track location and position, and much more.

Most marathon runners don’t dare even to attempt to run the Inca Peninsula marathon for many different reasons. If you are braver than most, you should give it a shot. However, only do it if you are certain that you’ll succeed in finishing it without any complications.

Iditarod Trail Invitational

Coming back to winter marathons and running in incredibly cold weather conditions, the Iditarod Trail Invitational is the marathon you should be checking out.

You’ll have a choice whether or not to travel through the frozen wasteland on a bicycle, on foot, or on skis even. Nevertheless, if you think that it is going to be easy – you’re wrong. Most experts think of this one as the most ruthless and coldest marathon you could ever run.

Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon

The Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon is a marathon not everyone will be able to tackle. As its name suggests, it takes place around Mount Everest. You should expect that it’s different from other marathons for several reasons – primarily due to the altitude of the starting point being 5364 m above ground level.

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This marathon is only for those who can handle high altitudes and those who are brave enough to tackle everything Mont Everest has to offer. Carefully think everything through before attempting to complete this one.

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The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) is one of the hardest and most challenging marathons in the world, and it simply has to be a part of our list.

It takes place in France, and you’ll need to complete at least one of the annual 30 UTMB World Series Events in order to participate in UTMB.

Around 8000 people participate in this marathon every year, despite it being one of the most challenging marathons to complete.

Pikes Peak Marathon

Now, something different. The Pikes Peak marathon differs from other marathons due to several reasons. First of all, it involves rock climbing! Secondly, it is at an altitude in which the Oxygen levels are 43% less than at sea level. Finally, it is 20.1km long.

This marathon takes place in Colorado and if you think you can handle it, make sure to bring some extremely sturdy shoes with you!

The Barkley Marathons

The Barkley Marathons are some of the hardest marathons in the world due to the terrain. Plenty of competitors end up with severe foot/shin/leg injuries due to the inhospitality of the running track, but that’s the challenge – it’s not for everyone.

The Barkley Marathons are definitely not suited to be taken lightly in any case. Many competitors had been forced to give up due to severe injuries. So, if you are running this one, take care of your own safety first and foremost.

Badwater 135

This marathon is one of the longest single-track marathons you can run in the world. It covers a distance of 135 miles (217 km) of constant running, and not everyone is able to complete it.

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Runners have only 48h to complete the marathon and, while there is no prize money, they will receive the Badwater 135 belt buckles as proof of completion.

Leadville Marathon

The Leadville Marathon is yet another hard and different marathon than something you’ve probably been used to by now. This marathon is run on a dirt track, and its length is 42.2 km.

While not as dangerous as other marathons mentioned in this article, running in dirt can be challenging and exhausting as well. You’ll need to be physically and mentally ready for all challenges you’ll be facing.

10 Hardest Marathons in the World - Lady With Sneakers (4)

Jungfrau Marathon

The Jungfrau Marathon isn’t called “the most beautiful marathon in the world” for no reason. It takes place in the Swiss Alps and, while it is extremely difficult due to the conditions, it is also one of the most beautiful marathons you can run.

Make sure to bring your A-game if you wish to run this one without any issues.

The Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon

The Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon is one of the strangest marathons you can ever run. It has 7430ft of elevation change, and it can prove difficult for most participants to complete due to them struggling with breathing on high elevation. Only try this one if you know what you’re doing.

Great Wall Marathon

If you have always wanted to run on the Great Wall of China, then this marathon is the perfect choice for you. It is not as difficult as it is breathtaking and extremely mentally exhausting. Expect to tackle stairs, elevations, curves, and many other obstacles until you complete the run. This is not for the weak of heart.

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If you are one of the thrill-seekers looking for a difficult/challenging marathon, then some of the marathons we have listed here might be the perfect choice for you. However, before you attempt any of these, make sure that you are both physically and mentally ready for the challenge.

We recommend running a regular marathon before attempting any of these. They can be dangerous, and you should start things off slowly before moving on to the next level. Nevertheless, good luck!


Is Katherine Switzer married? ›

Why was Kathrine Switzer stopped from running? ›

In 1967 she became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon as an officially registered competitor. During her run race manager Jock Semple assaulted Switzer, trying to grab her bib number and thereby remove her from official competition.

What is the women's marathon record? ›

World Athletics recognizes two world records for women, a time of 2:14:04 set by Brigid Kosgei on October 13, 2019, during the Chicago Marathon, which was contested by men and women together, and a "Women Only" record of 2:17:01, set by Mary Keitany, on April 23, 2017, at the London Marathon for women only.

What is the jungle marathon? ›

Jungle Marathon (Brazil)

Runners cover over 260 kilometers in six stages through the Amazon rainforest – making their way through almost impenetrable undergrowth, where dangers could be lurking behind every tree.

Who was the first woman marathon runner Boston? ›

In 1967, Kathrine Switzer made history by becoming the first woman to run the Boston Marathon with an official race number. She did so despite the efforts the race director to remove her from the course. Switzer became a crusader for women's sports, a journalist, an author, and a TV commentator.

Does Kathrine Switzer still run marathons? ›

Switzer has run 41 marathons, won the 1974 New York City Marathon and in 1975, her two-hour and 51-minute marathon in Boston was ranked sixth in the world and third in the USA in women's marathon. She is still running marathons today.

Who was the first woman to wear a Boston bib race again? ›

In 1967, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to officially enter the Boston Marathon. In this article, Camila Domonoske discusses Switzer's experiences in that first race and her decision to return to the Boston Marathon 50 years later.

Why did Emily Sisson drop out of marathon? ›

In an Instagram post this morning, Sisson, 31, announced her decision to withdraw from the marathon this year. “I tweaked something in my hip during a workout a few weeks ago, and it just didn't quite heal fast enough!

What happened to the marathon runner who collapsed? ›

Aaron, the Army National Guard veteran and disciplined marathon runner, suffered cardiac arrest brought on by rhabdomyolysis. It's a condition where muscle tissue breaks down from intense physical exertion and releases proteins in the blood. It's common among endurance athletes and is treatable.

Who is the best female marathon runner of all time? ›

Filter All Time Top Lists
12:14:04Brigid KOSGEI
22:14:18Ruth CHEPNGETICH
32:14:58Amane Beriso SHANKULE
42:15:25Paula RADCLIFFE
47 more rows

Who is the fastest woman marathoner? ›

The world record for women was set by Brigid Kosgei of Kenya in the Chicago Marathon on 13 October 2019, in 2 hours 14 minutes and 4 seconds who broke the record Paula Radcliffe of Great Britain had set over 16 years earlier at the London Marathon.

Has a woman ever beat a man in a marathon? ›

Aryasova, a Russian, won the marathon's grand $100,000 prize because she was the first runner – male or female – to cross the finish line downtown. The elite female runners had a 19-minute, 38-second head start on the men's field, and usually that makes for good TV during the last few miles of the marathon.

What is the Robin Hood marathon? ›

The Robin Hood Half Marathon is one of the longest established and most popular city centre road events in the UK. It is also the largest charity fundraising event in the city, raising over £330,000 for charity in 2019.

What did Oprah run the marathon in? ›

Oprah Winfrey- 4:29:20

In 1994 Oprah Winfrey took on the Marine Corps Marathon. Her 19 month journey inspired the masses thanks to a documentary film crew that accompanied her throughout her training.

What is Heartbreak Hill Boston marathon? ›

Heartbreak Hill is a difficult portion. It is a steep half-mile uphill at mile 20. But, especially those of us who are training in Boston, we prepare ourselves for that hill. Most of the long runs go hard at least until the top of Heartbreak Hill, and then we start cooling down. We do hill repeats at Heartbreak Hill.

Who is the older woman marathon runner? ›

Three days after her 75th birthday, Jeannie Rice of Mentor, Ohio, added the women's 75+ age group world marathon record to her impressive resume, winning her age category at the 2023 Boston Marathon by 20 minutes and crossing the line in 3:33:15.

Who was the woman that faked winning a marathon? ›

Rosie Ruiz, age 26, finishes first in the women's division of the Boston Marathon with a time of 2:31:56 on April 21, 1980.

Who is the 62 year old woman marathon runner? ›

There's almost no hint that she's 62 years old. Yugeta turned heads when she ran 2:58:15 at the 2017 Tokyo Marathon, the fastest time ever by a 58-year-old woman. She made them spin with a 2:59:15 at the 2019 Shimonoseki Kaikyo Marathon, where she became the first woman over 60 to break the three-hour barrier.

Who was disqualified from the Boston Marathon female? ›

As a result of the completion of the adjudication process, Diana Kipyokei's result in the 2021 Boston Marathon has been disqualified. The B.A.A. is in the process of adjusting race rankings and will provide prize award adjustments to top finishers of the 2021 event.

Who is the 80 year old female marathon runner? ›

An 81-year-old marathon runner from Leeds says putting on her trainers has helped her mental and physical health. Hilary Wharam has completed 167 marathons since she took up the sport aged 55. The Horsforth Harriers runner said she hopes to complete a total of 300 marathons as she "has a lot of energy".

Who is the youngest marathon runner? ›

Budhia Singh
Personal information
Born2002 (age 20–21) Bhubaneswar, Khurdha District, Orissa

Who was the first black woman to win the Boston Marathon? ›

Monday, April 21, 1997: Fatuma Roba of Ethiopia became the fourth person to win the Boston and Olympic Marathons, and the first African woman to win the Boston Marathon. Two years later, she would become the second woman of the official era to win the race three consecutive years.

How did a 28 year old female Boston Marathoner died in 2002? ›

Doctors said a runner who collapsed and died in the Boston Marathon developed a rare condition caused by drinking too much. NewsCenter 5's Heather Unruh reported that Cynthia Lucero, 28, suffered from hyponatremia, or water intoxication, a condition complicated by stress hormones.

Who was the first indigenous person to win the Boston Marathon? ›

Longboat was the first Indigenous person to win the Boston Marathon (1907). He competed for Canada at the 1908 Olympic Games.
Tom Longboat.
Published OnlineJuly 3, 2013
Last EditedMay 16, 2022
May 16, 2022

Why didn t Molly Seidel finish Boston Marathon? ›

The statement said her withdrawal was due to a right hip injury.

Why did Molly Seidel leave the Boston Marathon? ›

And when my muscles started to go my form got sloppy and aggravated the hip impingement I've had on-and-off this build. At halfway it was hurting, and by 16 it was clear there was no way I could keep running without really injuring myself. So I made the decision to drop out.

What pace did Emily Sisson run? ›

Emily Sisson ran 1:06:52 to break her own American record by 19 seconds en route to finishing second place overall at the Houston Half Marathon on Sunday morning.

What kind of body will running give me? ›

Running targets mainly your legs and butt. The muscles which are used to power you through your run are quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and glutes. Regular running will definitely get you a toned, fit body including a firm butt.

Who is the famous female American runner? ›

U.S. All-Time List — Women
21.34Florence Griffith Joyner (World Class AC)9/29/88
21.61Gabby Thomas (New Balance)6/26/21
21.62(A)Marion Jones (Nike)9/11/98
21.69Allyson Felix (Nike)6/30/12
11 more rows
Apr 17, 2023

What is the 70 year old woman marathon record? ›

Jeannie Rice smashed 3:30 and set an age-group world record. Running fans who were paying attention to the Chicago Marathon were probably impressed by Mo Farah, the quadruple Olympic gold medalist on the track, who won in 2:05:11 and made it look easy.

Who is the fastest 60 year old woman? ›

Yugeta Mariko. Her success in the marathon has made her something of a celebrity among her fellow amateur racers.

Who is the fastest woman of all time? ›

But who is the fastest woman? That title belongs to the one and only Florence Griffith-Joyner. Known as “Flo-Jo” by her many fans, Griffith-Joyner has held the women's world record in the 100-meter sprint since 1988. Her time was 10.49 seconds.

Who is the fastest old woman in the world? ›

6, 105-year-old Julia Hawkins of Baton Rouge became the oldest woman to run the 100 meters in official competition. Clocking in at 1 minute 3 seconds, she was the only competitor in the race for people 105 and older.

Who is the most successful female runner? ›

Joan Benoit Samuelson

A mere year after her win, she set the American women's record in Chicago in 2:21:21. Today, she is the only woman who has ever run a sub-3-hour marathon in five consecutive decades. Joan Benoit-Samuelson is now in her 60s and continues to inspire both elite and recreational women runners.

What sport can a woman beat a man? ›

Ultra running – women have beaten men in ultra running. Pamela Reed was the first woman to win the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon, finishing first in both 2002 and 2003. She was also the first person ever to run 300 miles without sleeping.

Can a woman outrun a man? ›

A new study that tracked ultramarathon running times worldwide over two decades found that women tend to outrun men, after 195 miles. On average, women are 0.6% faster than men during super-long races that stretch towards (and beyond) the 200 mile mark.

What marathon did Diddy run? ›

Diddy" Combs celebrates after running the New York City Marathon in four hours and fourteen minutes November 2, 2003 in New York City.

Was there a real life Robin Hood? ›

While most contemporary scholars have failed to turn up solid clues, medieval chroniclers took for granted that a historical Robin Hood lived and breathed during the 12th or 13th century. The details of their accounts vary widely, however, placing him in conflicting regions and eras.

What was Robin Hood lifespan? ›

Ritson gave the date of Robin Hood's death as 18 November 1247, when he would have been around 87 years old.

How fast did Gordon Ramsay run a marathon? ›

Suzanne Malveauxtelevision6:05:32
Natalie Moralestelevision3:31:02
Casey Neistattelevision3:02:26
Gordon Ramsaytelevision3:30:37
71 more rows

What did Paula Radcliffe do in a marathon? ›

Her time was the second quickest in women's marathon history behind the world record of 2:18:47 set by Catherine Ndereba, of Kenya, in Chicago. Later that year, Radcliffe set a world record time of 2:17:18 in the Chicago Marathon on 13 October 2002, breaking the previous record by a minute and a half.

Did Bill Belichick run a marathon? ›

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick completed a half-marathon in Nashville on Saturday. Allison and Amanda pose with the University of New Hampshire mascot at Domino's Grand Re-Opening in Durham, NH.

Why did Bobbi Gibb run the Boston Marathon? ›

Gibb, who was living in San Diego at the time, ran out her door after tossing the rejection letter and raced up the beach for 20 miles to release her anger. After that run, she decided that she would find any way to run the Boston Marathon that year.

How many people died in the Boston Marathon bombing? ›

Can anyone run the Boston Half Marathon? ›

Half Marathon must be at least 14 years old on race day in order to take part.

Who is Kathrine Switzer husband? ›

How old is Kathrine Switzer? ›

Who took the photo of Kathrine Switzer? ›

Trask photographed Kathrine Switzer being attacked by race organiser Jock Semple for being a woman and officially running in the 1967 Boston Marathon.

Who was the woman who ran the Boston Marathon 1967? ›

Kathrine Switzer was involved in an iconic moment at the 1967 Boston Marathon; she was attacked by race director Jock Semple who tried to throw her out while she was running, but the pair later became good friends; Switzer explains how that day revolutionised women's running.

Who was the first woman to run the Chicago marathon? ›

Switzer finished, becoming the first woman to register and officially complete the race.

Did Kathrine Switzer finish the Boston Marathon? ›

A runner who saw off furious race officials to become the first woman to complete the Boston Marathon has repeated the feat 50 years later. Kathrine Switzer became a hero of the women's rights movement in 1967 after she officially completed the then all-male race.

When did Bobbi Gibb run the Boston Marathon? ›

Roberta "Bobbi" Gibb in action during the end of the 1966 Boston Marathon on Boylston Street in Boston, Massachusetts. Gibb became the first woman to run and complete the race on April 19, 1966.


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