THE BLOG
07/15/2014 08:43 pm ET Updated Sep 13, 2014

11 Adventure Races That'll Blow You Away

Have you participated in endurance races like Ragnar, Tough Mudder, and the Zombie Run... and you're still left wanting more?

Compared to the following expedition-style events that test real adventure skills -- orienteering, mountain biking, climbing, mountaineering, trekking, kayaking, endurance (how's a few hundred miles, for example?), etc. -- the other races will find themselves begging for mercy.

Think you're down? If you've got the cojones to run (or trek, or climb, or...) into the unknown, then check out this list of races across North America that will get you ready for the big leagues and help you sharpen up on some real survival skills! Your "Zombie Apocalypse" run could never outlast what's about to come.

Eastern North America:

1. Ontario: Wilderness Traverse

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PHOTO: Luis Moreira

Length: 24 hours of racing, covering 150 kms (93 miles).

About: This race takes place in the Parry Sound District of Ontario, a region that sits in the Canadian Shield and is known for its rugged, exposed terrain.

Disciplines: Backcountry navigation, trekking, mountain biking, and canoeing.

Teams: Comprised of three to four racers.

Cost: $280 (CAN) per person.

2. Maine: Untamed New England

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PHOTO: Andreas Strand

Length: 4 days of ongoing racing, covering 200 miles.

About: This race traverses a region in Maine known as the Central Highlands. It utilizes the 100-Mile Wilderness section of the Appalachian Trail, an area claimed to be one of the most remote and most challenging to navigate.

Disciplines: Trekking, mountain biking, wilderness navigation, paddling, packrafting, orienteering relay, whitewater rafting, and rope courses.

Teams: Teams can be made of two to four racers.

Cost: $2,640 - $3,520 (USD) per team, depending on size.

3. Virginia: Odyssey Blue Ridge Bear EPIC Adventure Race

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PHOTO: Odyssey Adventure Racing

Length: 24 hours of racing, covering 90 miles.

About: The race moves through the Blue Ridge Mountains outside of Buchanan, Virginia. It takes you over miles of old-growth forests and through Class II whitewater.

Disciplines: Trekking, mountain biking, paddling, orienteering, and bushwacking.

Teams: Solo racers or teams comprised of up to four people.

Cost: $200 - $275 (USD) per person, depending on size of team, plus processing fees.

4. Florida: Sea 2 Sea

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PHOTO: Pangea Adventure Racing, Sea 2 Sea

Length: 72 hours of racing, covering 225 miles.

About: This race crosses from the West coast of Florida to the East. It traverses the heart of interior Florida, a wild and relatively rugged portion of the state that is rarely seen by most visitors.

Disciplines: Single track biking, paddling, and orienteering.

Teams: Contact for more information.

Cost: Contact for more information.

Continental Interior:

1. Manitoba: Actif Epica

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PHOTO: Actif Epica

Length: 25 hours, covering 130 kms (81 miles).

About: This race starts in St. Malo, Manitoba and travels North to the Red River Floodway. The course follows a portion of the Trans Canada Trail through wide stretches of prairie -- and it's all done in the middle of Manitoba's Winter.

Disciplines: Winter navigation (and hardiness) is arguably the main adventure feat of this race. Racers may choose to bike, cross-country ski, or trek their way through the course.

Teams: Solo.

Cost: Contact for more information.

2. Wisconsin: Stubborn Mule Adventure Race 30-Hour

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PHOTO: Stubborn Mule Adventure Race

Length: 30 hours, covering up to 135 miles.

About: The course is located within an hour of Tomohawk, Wisconsin, though the exact details are withheld until roughly a week before the race starts.

Disciplines: Flat water paddling, mountain biking, orienteering, road biking, trekking, and land navigation.

Teams: Solo racers or teams comprised of up to four people.

Cost: $185 (USD) per person.


3. Texas: Eco Lonestar Adventure Race

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PHOTO: Terra Firma Racing, Eco Lonestar Adventure Race

Length: 12 hours, covering up to 82 miles.

About: The course makes use of the Sam Houston National Forest (about 50 miles north of Houston, Texas) and has a few "mystery events" thrown in to up the ante.

Disciplines: Mountain biking, paddling, land navigation, and trekking.

Teams: Solo racers or teams comprised of up to four people.

Cost: $140 per person or $420 per team (USD).

Western North America:

1. Yukon Territory: The Yukon Arctic Ultra

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PHOTO: Arcticultra, The Yukon Arctic Ultra, Anaïs Marceau

Length: 100, 300, and 430-mile options. Contact for race hours.

About: Though this race is human-powered, it follows the Yukon Quest Trail, home to the world's most difficult dog-sledding race. Starting outside of Whitehorse on the Yukon River, the 430-mile option takes place every other year, while the others are annual events. Oh, did we mention this takes place in Yukon's Winter?

Disciplines: Racers can choose to mountain bike, cross-country ski, or trek the course. (We're taking the liberty to add "Winter survival" to the list of skills needed to complete this event.)

Teams: Every team must have at least two individuals. Contact for more information.

Cost: $1,360 - $3,130 (USD).

2. Oregon: Bend-AR

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PHOTO: Bend Adventure Race

Length: 30 hours; contact for mileage.

About: Though the exact course is kept secret up until right before the race date, the event is held near Bend, Oregon. It is touted as being "the must-do race for the Pacific Northwest," and a way to get your first taste of real adventure racing.

Disciplines: Mountain biking, whitewater paddling, trekking, and navigation.

Teams: Solo racers or teams permitted. Contact for more information.

Cost: Contact for more information.

3. Wyoming: Cameco Cowboy Tough Expedition Race

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PHOTO: Revolution Adventure, Cameco Cowboy Tough Expedition Race

Length: 3.5 days, covering between 330 - 400 miles.

About: Starting in Lander and ending in Casper, you'll take off from a classic Western ghost town before moving into Wyoming's rugged backcountry. Here, you'll experience everything nature might throw at you, including Class III rapids.

Disciplines: Mountain biking, canoeing, whitewater paddling, trekking, and navigation.

Teams: Two and four person teams.

Cost: $1,000 (USD) per team member.

4. California: Gold Rush Mother Lode

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PHOTO: Gold Rush Mother Lode

Length: 4 days; contact for mileage information.

About: This unsupported race takes place in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California and, in 2014, acts as a qualifier for the Adventure Racing World Series Championships, along with Untamed New England (mentioned earlier).

Disciplines: Hiking, running, orienteering, mountain biking, paddling, and rope work.

Teams: Three and four-member teams.

Cost: Up to $3,300 (USD).

Know of any other adventure races that truly test outdoor skills and endurance? Let us know in the comments!

This post originally ran on the Liftopia blog.

By Gina Bégin (@ginabegin)

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