RaceThread.com: The Most Challenging 24 Hour Endurance Races in North America

The Most Challenging 24 Hour Endurance Races in North America

May 30th, 2017

by Michael Ryan


24-hour races, also known as ultra races or ultra marathons, are an incredible way to cover significant distances in a restricted environment. Don’t worry as you will never be more than five miles from food, dry clothes and your sleeping bag. All these races feature mountaineering, climbing, mountain biking, kayaking and trekking. If you are fond of participating in endurance races, such as the Zombie Run and Ragnar, you might be interested in other races that offer the same experience, albeit to a greater degree and endurance level. Some of these races will leave you begging for mercy than other expedition-style events that put your skills to test!

A major part of the challenge is to not give in and get past your tent at every lap. Here are some popular races that take place over 24 hours:


Untamed New England

Teams: Teams (two to four racers)

This race goes through the Central Highlands in Maine. It goes over the Appalachian Trail, specifically the 100-Mile Wilderness Area, which is among the most challenging and most remote courses to get through.

Disciplines: Mountain biking, navigation, trekking, paddling, pack rafting, wilderness, orienteering relay, rope courses and whitewater rafting

Cost: Approximately $2,640 to $3,520 per team

Length: 4 days (covering 200 miles)

Dates: Registration starts from 1st June and the event takes place from 24th to 29th July




Stubborn Mule Adventure Race 30-Hour

Teams: Teams (up to four people) or solo racers

The course is situated close to Tomahawk, Wisconsin but the precise details are disclosed only a week before the actual event.

Disciplines: Mountain biking, road biking, flat-water paddling, orienteering, trekking, and land navigation

Length: 30 hours (covering 135 miles)





Teams: You can participate on your own or as a team, but contact the organizers just to confirm.

Although the exact course is not disclosed until the event date, the race is held close to Bend, Oregon. It is hyped as being a ‘must-do’ race for all budding adventurers. This is the first real adventure experience for many athletes.

Disciplines: Trekking, navigation, whitewater paddling, and mountain biking

Cost: Contact the Organizers for cost and mileage details

Length: 30 hours

Dates: September 16 and 17




Cameco Cowboy Tough Expedition Race

Teams: Two or four participants

The event stars off in Lander and ends in Casper. Adventurers take off from Western ghost town before making their way into Wyoming’s rocky backcountry. Here, all participants have to encounter anything nature throws their way including Class III rapids.

Disciplines: Trekking, mountain biking, whitewater paddling, canoeing, and navigation

Cost: $1,000 per member

Length: 3.5 days (covering 330 to 400 miles)

Dates: 24 July for registration, August 5 to 16 for event




Gold Rush Mother Lode

Teams: Three and four-member teams

This event takes place in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California and serves as a qualifier for the Adventure Racing World Series Championships.

Disciplines: Rope work, hiking, orienteering, running, paddling, mountain biking

Cost: Roughly $3,300

Length: 4 days

Dates: The event starts from 11th November




Wilderness Traverse

Teams: Up to three and four racers

The event takes place in the Parry Sound District of Ontario, a section that sits in the Canadian Shield and is famous for its exposed and rugged terrain.

Disciplines: Mountain biking, backcountry navigation, canoeing, and trekking

Cost: $280 (CAN)

Length: 24 hours covering 93 miles

Dates: September 30th to October 1st




Actif Epica

Teams: Solo

The course takes you to the Red River Floodway, having started from St. Malo, Manitoba. You will also go over the Trans Canada Trail, where you go through the prairie, right in the heart of Manitoba’s Winter.

Disciplines: The main discipline is winter navigation, and you are free to choose between trekking, cross-skiing, and biking.

Cost: Contact Organizers for information

Length: 25 hours, covering 81 miles

Dates: The event took place in February this year and is scheduled around the same time for next year

Tips for Participating In Races that Take Place Over 24 Hours

Keep moving forward and never stop. When you are going through a rough patch, cover it by walking. You will be surprised by how much distance you can cover in ultra marathon. Spare shoes and socks also count, so do not forget to keep an extra pair. Make sure you keep eating. You require calories even if you don’t feel like gulping down anything.  Some runners keep a flask full of soup and have as many cups as possible since solid food is not easy to manage or eat when you are involved in the race. 

If you are interested in participating in races that take place over 24 hours, you can click here for a list of ultra marathons you can choose from. You can pick an event that takes place near your home, which will also make preparation easier for you as well.

Keywords: 24 Hour Plus Endurance Races, Ultra Marathon, Trekking, Ultra Race

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