A book review – two race books

I have two race books on our coffee table: The World’s Toughest Endurance Challenges and World’s Ultimate Running Races.


They are a constant reminder of all the cool adventures there are in the world. I find myself perusing them frequently, dreaming of races to run in faraway lands and wondering if I’d ever be bold enough to try some.

The World’s Toughest Endurance Challenges by Richard Hoad and Paul Moore

This book profiles 50 of the world’s toughest challenges that push athletes to their limits. It includes gorgeous photos, information about the races, and first-hand accounts from past participants.


It’s broken into races by continent and features everything from ultramarathons to multidiscipline events to freediving.

I think the coolest race is the jungle marathon: an ultramarathon in the Amazon jungle where you have to support yourself over 220 km while worrying about poisonous trees, extreme humidity, and lurking dangers in the river and swamp crossings.

Another fascinating race is the Crocodile Trophy in Australia that challenges the strongest mountain bikers over 1,200km of riding through bush, creeks with crocodiles, and outback trails.

The Cadiz Freedom Swim in South Africa sounds downright dangerous! The book says the water leaves many of its competitors clinically hypothermic with unpredictable currents fuelling massive swells and the most aggressive sharks on the planet.

It’s a really great read and fun book to flip through! I’d love to try at least one of the races in here. Maybe after reading about all of them a few more times I’ll decide on a goal adventure race!

World’s Ultimate Running Races

This book is running focused featuring 500 races in 101 countries. There are 10 categories of races featured from road to stage to trail to track.

The races are in calendar chronological order, but you can also look them up based on country, category, or name.

There’s tons of information about each race including name, category, history, a bit about the race course, distance, terrain, climate, records, and the website.

Currently on my list: Gold Coast Marathon in Queensland, Australia; Lantau Mountain Marathon in Hong Kong; and the Victoria Fall Marathon in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

What adventure race would you like to do?
What international races are on your list?

Thanks for reading! I scheduled a few posts to go up while I’m cruising the California coast with my family. I don’t expect to be online much, so I won’t be commenting on blogs or writing trip updates on here. However, I hope to post to my Instagram feed (thechangeofpace) when the mood strikes!

25 responses to “A book review – two race books

  1. Okay WHO would do the South Africa one – sharks?!?! no thanks

  2. ari @ whatarisaid

    That jungle ultra sounds freaky.. on that note, I’d be too scared as to what I just stepped in to think about the fact that I’ve been running for hours lol!

  3. I also have these books and dream with them quite often. So many wonderful challenges out there.

  4. Thanks Abby!! I’m always looking for new reads and I love sport related books 😉 I definitely have a few international races on my bucket list…Ironman New Zealand, Ironman Canada and the Dublin Marathon are just a few.

  5. Those sound horrifying! Eek! I lived in Queensland Aus! I loved it! You should do the Gold Coast one!

  6. I need to check out both of these books! I would love to do some destination races with my husband some day. It’s not in an exotic locale, but Boston is at the top of my list. 2015, here we come!

  7. These books sound so cool and so intriguing. Sometimes it completely blows my mind when I read about certain races, distances, and what athletes go through to complete them! I have no international or adventure races on my list… maybe one day though 😉 San Fran Marathon would be amazing I think!

  8. I love these books! I’d like to do the Gold Coast one day too – famous for being flat and fast, plus it is just across the ditch! Another one is the Everest Marathon, and the Kepler Challenge which is based in the town where I grew up – I have to do it!

  9. Both of those books sound good. I don’t know how many of the races I would seriously think about doing but it would be fun to read about all of them.

  10. All of those challenges are crazy!! I can’t even imagine doing some of those things. Maybe I am just not fearless and I think you really need to be to do one of those challenges that you mentioned!!
    I think I would have to check out the book to decide on some adventures!! I would like to swim in some of the open water in Europe. I have heard it is epic!
    I want to do the Gold Coast, London, and the Great Wall marathons.

  11. Some of those endurance challenges sound like the Hunger Games! I’m all for the marathon in Queensland! 😉

  12. I got a little nervous just reading about some of those races! Hope you’re enjoying yourself in California!

  13. Stephanie@nowiun.com

    I love how you wrote about biking through alligator-ridden waters and then said the next race sounded outright dangerous. SO DID THE FIRST TWO!! 🙂 I love it!

    Hope you are having a wonderful getaway!

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  15. I don’t have a dream adventure race or challenge (yet), but I really want to just run a race in Winnipeg, my hometown, and maybe with my dad (who used to be a serious runner). The timing has always been off when I go home for a visit, but one day it will happen 🙂

  16. What fun reads!
    Have a great trip – can’t wait to see/hear about your adventures!

  17. Okay any race where you have to worry about being eaten is crossed RIGHT OFF MY LIST of possibilities. I consider myself adventurous in only the wimpiest of ways!! 🙂 These sound like great books though. Even though I’m a wimp I love reading about others’ bravery! 🙂 Have fun in CA!

  18. I wonder if those books contain any of these gems:

    1. The Naked Mile at the University of Michigan
    2. The Krispy Kreme Challenge
    3. The Blindfold 5K (OK, so I made that one up)

  19. I love this! You two are just too cute 🙂 Have a fun (and adventure) filled Valentine’s Day!

  20. I always say that if I hit the lottery, I would travel the world doing crazy races like these!!

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