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Unique Ultra Marathons in North America

Updated: Aug 27, 2023

What are some of the most Unique ultra marathons in North America?


Death Valley

What are Ultra-Marathons?


Ultra marathons are long-distance races that are typically longer than the traditional marathon

distance of 26.2 miles. There are many unique ultra-marathons held in North America, some of

which are known for their challenging terrain, extreme weather conditions, or other distinctive

features. Keep reading to find some of the most unique ultra marathons in North America.


Unique Ultra Marathons in North America


1. Badwater 135 Ultramarathon:


This 135-mile race is held in Death Valley, California during July and is known for being one of the hottest and driest races in the world. Badwater 135 will start at Badwater Basin, Death Valley, which marks the lowest elevation in North America at 280’ (85m) below sea level. The race finishes at Whitney Portal at 8,300’ (2530m), which is the trailhead to the Mt. Whitney summit, the highest point in the contiguous United States. The course covers three mountain ranges for a total of 14,600’ (4450m) of cumulative vertical ascent and 6,100’ (1859m) of cumulative descent. Entry is based on meeting at least ONE of THREE Qualifying Standards. For more information follow the link, How to Qualify for Badwater 135.


2. Hardrock 100 Miler Endurance Run:


This 100-mile race is held in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado during July and is known for its challenging terrain and high altitude. Hardrock 100 Endurance Run will take you through river crossings, paved and dirt roads, trails, creeks, etc. all while traversing up 33,197 feet of climb, and 33,197 feet of descent for a total elevation change of 66,394 feet with an average elevation of 11,186 feet - low point 7,680 feet (Ouray) and high point 14,048 feet (Handies Peak). Entry is through a lottery system and must complete a qualifying race. For more information follow the link, How Hardrock 100 Entry Process Works.


3. Rocky Raccoon 100 Miler:


This 100-mile race is held in Huntsville State Park, Texas during February and is known for its technical terrain and hot weather. Rocky Raccoon 100 is a Western States 100 Qualifying Race for ultra runners who can complete the course within 30 hours.


4. Western States 100 Miler Endurance Run:


This 100-mile race is held in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California during June and is known for its extreme heat and rugged terrain. The Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run is the world's oldest 100-mile trail race. The point-to-point course takes you from Olympic Valley to Auburn California where you will climb more than 18,000 ft and descend around 23,000 ft. Entry is through a lottery system and must complete a qualifying race. For more information follow the link, How Western States Entry Process Works.


5. Fat Dog 120 Miler:


This 120-mile race is held in the Canadian Rockies of British Columbia during August and is known for its beautiful, but challenging, mountain terrain. The point-to-point course will take you through forests, with stunning alpine views, mountain vistas, wildflower meadows, and sub-alpine forests. Registration for Fat Dog 120 is through Ultra Signup and is on a first-come, first-served basis.


6. Moab 240 Miler:


This 240-mile race is held in Utah during October and is known for its beautiful terrain through the desert, canyons, and mountains. Entry is through a lottery system. For more information follow the link, How Moab 240 Lottery Works. Lottery dates for 2024 Moab 240 will open from Jan 3 to Jan 17, 2024. Results will be drawn on Jan 24, 2024.

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