Louisiana to host new endurance race ending at Mardis Gras

Some people will do anything to get to a party. Case in point, the endurance runners who will be taking part in the inaugural Rouge-Orleans Ultramarathon scheduled to take place in Louisiana on March 4-6, 2011. The race also happens to fall on the same weekend as Mardi Gras, which has prompted race organizers to adopt the slogan “come to run, stay to party.”

The race is a true test of endurance even for supremely conditioned athletes. The course begins at the Louisiana State University Veterinary School in the state’s capital of Baton Rouge and then runs for 126.2 miles along the Mississippi River levee, before ending at Audubon Park in New Orleans. The route winds its way passed sugarcane fields, southern plantations, and mysterious swamplands as it follows the course of the river south through the Louisiana countryside. The trail rarely crosses a road along the way either, which means that the runners won’t have to worry about traffic as they go.

Competitors can enter the race in several categories, including as an individual or on relay teams consisting of two, three or six runners. On the first day of the race, there will be several wave starts to get things going, with individuals hitting the trail with runners who share a similar pace. Once out on the course, they’ll have 40 hours to complete the entire 126.2 miles, which means they’ll need to average more than 3 miles an hour in order to finish ahead of the mandatory cutoff.

Once the runners reach the finish line in New Orleans however, they can join the party at Mardi Gras. After running for more than 126 miles, I’m sure they’ll want a few adult beverages to help ease the pain in their legs and feet. Completing an event like this takes a great deal of stamina and determination, so a celebration will definitely be in order for those who manage to complete the course.

[Photo credit: Robeter via WikiMedia]

The Gobi March begins today

More than 150 of the world’s top ultra-runners have assembled in the remote city of Turban, located in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region in western China, to take part in one of the most challenging foot races on Earth. The event is known as The Gobi March, and over the course of the next week, the competitors will endure six grueling stages through one of the harshest environments on the planet.

Each day this week the runners will head out on a course designed to test their strength and stamina. They’ll be required to carry all of the gear they’ll need for the day, including food and water, while navigating between desert checkpoints. When they reach the finish line for each stage, they’ll camp for the night, regaining their strength for the next day, when they’ll do it all again.

The first stage of the race takes part today over a 32km (20 mile) course that runs from the village of Gaoyachun through a remote valley in the Tian Shan Mountains, whose peaks will serve as a dramatic backdrop to the day. Temperatures are expected to climb above 100ºF, and the dry trail conditions will be an indicator of what is to come in the days ahead.

The top runners will finish the race with a combined time for all six stages in the 25 hour range, but the majority of the competitors will be much further back than that. The race is a test of endurance however, and just reaching the finish line is a major accomplishment for all involved.

[Photo credit: RacingThePlanet.com]

Scotsman Don Lennox to row the Atlantic and run across the U.S.

Scotsman Don Lennox has a busy summer planned. The endurance athlete set out from Battery Park in New York City this past Sunday with three other men, in an attempt to break the speed record for rowing across the Atlantic Ocean. Don, and his teammates, will continue to row in two-man shifts, for 24-hours a day, until they reach England, which they are hoping to do in roughly 45 days time.

For most of us, that would be enough adventure for the year, but for Lennox it is just the beginning. Upon arrival in the U.K., he’ll head directly to the airport to catch a flight to California, where he’ll start the second phase of his amazing test of endurance. Once there, he’ll begin a 3100 mile cross-country odyssey in which he hopes to run coast -to- coast in less than 55 days, setting another speed record in the process. Yep, that’s right, this crazy Scotsman is trying to row across the Atlantic and run across the United States, in just 100 days time.

Don isn’t just doing this just so he can get a good workout however. He’s also hoping to raise funds and awareness for the Help For Heroes and the Wounded Warrior Project, two organizations that help service men and women who have been wounded in combat to get back on their feet, and on with their lives. Don has set a loft goal of raising £1 million for the two charities.

You can follow Don’s progress by reading his blog, which can be found by clicking here. You can also track the progress of the rowing team across the Atlantic by clicking here.

So? What do you have planned for the summer?