Test yourself in Canada's 10 toughest races

by Julie Bruns

There are races that are difficult, and then there are races that will challenge your very being and shake you down to your core, daring you just to finish them. Prepare yourself: these are Canada’s toughest races. [Image credit: iStock.com/GibsonPictures]

Test yourself in Canada's 10 toughest races

Whistler Red Bull 400 - Whistler, BC 
At first glance, a 400 meter race may not strike fear into your heart, but the Whistler Red Bull 400 stretches these meters almost straight up, with the course leading up a ski jumping hill. Feel the burn.

Death Race - Grande Cache, AB
It doesn’t get more dangerous than a race that has “Death” right in the title. This gruelling race dares competitors to cover 125 kilometres over Rocky Mountain summits and even through a treacherous river crossing at Hell’s Gate canyon.

Spartan Races - Across Canada
The Spartans were renowned for being tough, but these obstacle races would be a physical affront even to them. A variety of the Spartan Races are scattered across Canada, from three-mile “sprints” to the 12-mile “Beast” packed with 30 obstacles that will leave your muscles crying.

Tough Mudder - Whistler, BC & Toronto, ON
If you can’t tough it out, the Tough Mudder will leave you in the mud...literally. This race is not only dangerously exhausting, it can be fatal for your clothing as you run, climb, crawl, squirm and heave your way through 12 miles, 20 or more obstacles and a countless amount of, yep, you guessed it, mud.

6633 Ultra - Along the Arctic Ocean
If just the sound of 350 miles of windy, snowy cold makes you want to curl up under duvets, the 6633 Ultra race probably isn’t for you. Determined athletes cover this distance while pulling a sled containing food, clothes, sleeping bags and everything else they may need, making this one of the most difficult races on the list.

Yukon River Quest - Down the Yukon River, Whitehorse to Dawson City, YK
Running not your thing? No problem, you can still antagonize your muscles by paddling a kayak, canoe or stand-up paddle board over 715 kilometres of water down the Yukon River. Starting in Whitehorse, this race stretches to Dawson City, and is non-stop until you reach the glorious finish line.

Ultra520 - Penticton, BC
Feeling the need to prove yourself in a variety of exhausting feats? The Ultra 520 race was made for you. The race’s 520 kilometres are split between a 10K swim, a 425.6K bike course and a 84.4K run through around picturesque Penticton.

The Tour Divide - Banff, AB to Antelope Wells, NM
If one country is not enough to contain your athletic ambitions, you might want to take on The Tour Divide. Sprawling from Banff to Antelope Wells, New Mexico in the US, this self-supported mountain bike race takes you over 4,418 km as you battle it out to the finish.

Fat Dog 120 - Cascade Mountains in BC
Take the scenic route to a whole new level in the Fat Dog 120 race. Surrounded by breathtaking alpine scenery, the fresh mountain air helps to distract you from the heart-pounding pace as you make your way through remote regions of the Cascade Mountains.

Yukon Quest - Whitehorse, YK to Fairbanks, AK
The legendary Yukon Quest is not just a challenge for mushers, it’s a test of strength and determination for every canine team member as well. This sled dog race covers a thousand miles of some of the most desolate, frigid terrain in the world from Whitehorse to Fairbanks, Alaska.

These races push physical and mental endurance to the limits. If you’re looking for a life-changing test of athleticism, why not start planning and training now to take on one of these greats!

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