Ultramarathon Quiz


By: Staff

5 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Does the idea of a 13.1 mile half marathon make you quake in your sneakers? You’d best steer clear of an ultramarathon, then. Only the truly extra elite athletes manage to finish these incredibly long foot races, which can sometimes take days or weeks to complete, depending on the length of the route!

There’s something for every type of ultramarathoner, whether you long to jog impressively high elevations through breathtaking mountains, or sweat your way across triple-digit deserts. Such events are truly the opportunity for mere mortals to show what they’re made of. 2018 saw an Icelander achieve the impressive goal of becoming the first woman ever to conquer the Gobi Desert Ultramarathon in less than 100 hours. At 254 miles (409 kilometers) in length, it’d be a serious accomplishment on regular old flat land, but she and her fellow participants soldiered through elevations of more than 13,000 feet (4000 meters), dealing with freezing temperatures and treacherous conditions along the Western China terrain. Suddenly, your local holiday-themed 5K doesn’t seem so overwhelming, right?

The wild thing is, the Gobi Desert Ultramarathon, although elite, isn’t even close to being the longest of these events. Indeed, ultramarathons are crazy-long foot races that push humans to their physical breaking points. How much do you know about these endurance events? Take the quiz and find out if you’re fit enough to pass the finish line!

An ultramarathon is any foot race longer than what distance?

Any race that goes farther than a traditional 26.2-mile marathon is considered an "ultra."


What is a common time limit for 100-mile trail ultras?

Runners who cross the finish line past the cut-off time typically won't receive an official finishing time.


What's the time limit for the Hardrock 100 in Colorado?

With around 34,000 feet of elevation change, the 100-mile Hardrock is considered one of the world's hardest ultramarathons.


What's the location of the Marathon de Sables?

It is a six-day, 156-mile race held in Morocco; the desert environment can kill the unprepared.


About how many people participate in the Marathon de Sables each year?

In spite of the triple-digit temperatures and soul-sucking sand, it is an exceedingly popular race.


How does a runner sign up for the Hardrock 100?

The popularity of American trail races means that race directors are often forced to use a lottery in order to limit entrants.


What happens to the Hardrock 100 course each year?

Ultra star Kilian Journet owns the record for both the clockwise (22:41) and counter-clockwise (23:28) routes.


What is a common reward for runners who complete an ultramarathon?

Belt buckles from the hardest races are a status symbol of sorts.


The Grand to Grand Ultra covers about how many miles?

The six-stage race begins and ends in Kanab, Utah.


What's a "sweeper"?

Slower runners who are caught by a sweeper are often told they must drop from the race.


What's the average completion rate of the Tor des Geants, a 205-mile race in Italy?

Four of 10 runners will never see the finish line; about 700 attempt the route each year.


How many loops make up the Barkley Marathons?

Each loop covers grueling terrain in Tennessee; in some years there are no finishers.


What's the time limit for the Barkley Marathons?

Only 40 people are allowed into this secretive race each year; the elevation gain is more than 50,000 feet.


How long did it take Zach Bitter to run 100 miles on a track, setting an American record?

Set in 2015, he ran a per-mile pace of 7:01. The world record is 11:28:03.


How many stages make up the 268-mile Montane Spine Race, held during winter in Britain?

It is advertised as "Britain's most brutal race" and in 2012 only three people completed the route.


Where is the 143-mile Jungle Ultra held?

You have to carry your own hammock for this one; you won't sleep, though, because the humidity is around 100%.


During the Badwater Ultramarathon, it is not uncommon for runners to experience what temperatures?

The California race is in July; the 135-mile route goes right through Death Valley.


What's the distance of the Self-Transcendence Race in Queens, New York?

Runners must average about 60 miles per day in order to finish in less than the 52-day time limit; no, we aren't kidding.


Where is the Fat Dog 100?

It's a 120-mile race that starts a couple of hours north of Vancouver; some say it is one of the prettiest races in North America.


What's the cumulative elevation gain of the H.U.R.T. 100 in Hawaii?

Runners fight tree roots and 20 stream crossings in this brutal quest.


For medical reasons, runners are weighed during the Leadville 100. They are pulled from the race if they lose how much of their body weight during the event?

Most of this is water weight, of course, but a drastic drop can be harmful or even deadly.


What month is the Yukon Arctic Ultra held?

It's held in the middle of winter and temperatures can dive to -50 degrees Fahrenheit.


What's the longest distance in the Yukon Artic Ultra?

The race is a ridiculous 430 miles, unless you drop to the "shorter" races of only 100, 200 or 300 miles.


What year was the 56-mile Comrades Marathon first held?

It is the oldest ultra in the world and held in South Africa. The course record is 5:18.


What is the world's oldest 100-mile ultramarathon?

Originally a horse race, Gordy Ainsleigh decided to finish on foot in 1974 when his horse was injured.


What's the age of most of the people who run ultramarathons?

According to UltraRunning Magazine, more than half of all participants are older than 40.


What's the prize money for a first-place finish at the 103-mile Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc in in the Alps?

Ultramarathons are not generally known for their large financial payoffs


What's the distance of the Iditarod Trail Invitational?

You can't even sign up for this one unless you've previously completed the 350-mile version.


How many marathons do runners complete during the Spartathlon Ultra Race?

Held in Greece, runners have only 36 hours to cover the 153 miles.


Since 2000, how many runners have completed the 1,000-mile version of the Iditarod Trail Invitational?

The race also allows bikers, who have fared better, with around 40 finishers.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!