Completing a 26.2 mile marathon is arguably one of the hardest athletic feats you can accomplish -- but it's child's play for runners of the latest craze: ultramarathons.
These grueling endurance races pit you against 100-mile treks across deserts, mountains, and other unforgiving landscapes for, proponents say, the ultimate test of mettle -- or, let's face it, social media bragging rights.
The Guardian interviewed Steve Diederich, who runs the Run Ultra website. The online destination posts info on the world’s biggest ultramarathons -- the sheer number of which have exploded over 1,000%. From the site's founding 12 years ago, he says, the number of races internationally have jumped from 160 to more than 1,800, including the Marathon des Sables, which spans 156 miles of the Sahara desert.
Despite an entry fee of nearly $6,000 -- and the absolute insanity of the trek -- Diederich says the organizers became so inundated with hopefuls that would-be ultramarathoners need to enter a lottery just for a chance to run.