Toughest Endurance Sports In The World

Through our hugely popular, “The Fittest Sport”, we discovered which sports boast the fittest athletes on the planet. Now, we switch our focus to endurance sports and determining what are “ The Toughest Endurance Sports ”.

If you’re wondering what the difference between fitness and endurance is, we’ve explained it here.

The Toughest Endurance Sports

In this series, we analyse the world’s toughest endurance sports to determine which sport demands the greatest level of endurance from its respective athletes.

Endurance is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to repeatedly exert force against resistance. Performing multiple repetitions of an exercise is a form of muscular endurance.

At PledgeSports we’ve helped a huge number of endurance athletes from a wide range of sports raise money through crowdfunding, from amateur level to Olympic, to professional. Because of our passion for endurance sport, we’ve decided to delve a little deeper and explain the science behind these sports and the endurance of their athletes.

Here are some great examples of successful sports crowdfunding campaigns


toughest-endurance-sports-ultra-runningImagine the pain of contesting the world’s most extreme ultra races like Badwater 135 – a 135-mile run through Death Valley in temperatures of +100 degrees; The Barkley Marathon’s 60,000 feet of changing elevation through Tennesee’s steep, unmarked Frozen Head State Park; Marathon Des Sables’ 150-mile run staged in the searing Sahara heat, and The Rut’s 20,000 feet of elevation change over 31 miles of exposed, highly technical terrain.

5 expert tips on surviving an ultra-run

What could possibly be more demanding—physically and mentally—than pushing the body relentlessly mile after mile in these races?

Find out why Ultra Running is such a tough endurance sport here.


toughest-endurance-sports-cyclingAt some point, the majority us have sat down and watched a bit of the Tour de France. The world’s top riders make it look easy as they glide through mountainous French terrain at an average speed of 25 miles per hour.

Here’s who can crowdfund on PledgeSports

But as many of us fail to look beyond the flawless performance of the rider in the yellow jersey, we never truly understand the level of endurance required to finish races like the 2,100 mile Tour de France, the 2,220 mile Giro D’Italia, the famous Pyrenees passage of the Vuelta a Espana, or the 1,100 miles Iditarod Invitational which takes place in Alaska’s -50 degrees temperatures.

Cycling endurance in detail – check it out.

Cross-Country Skiing

toughest-endurance-sports-nordic-skiingNot everyone has experienced heavy snow so let us pose this question – Have you ever tried going for a run on a soft beach?

Doing so exaggerates the difficulties of running and the pressure on your muscles to work hard as they wade through the heavy sand. Now, think of doing the same again, while wearing a pair of skis and feeling a mix of sharp sub-zero temperatures and high altitude pressure.

We’re such big fans of Ultra Athletes that we’ve dedicated a section of our blog to them

We have worked with enough cross-country skiers to know that the sport demands endurance of the highest degree, but many may not fully appreciate just how tough these guys are.

Read the full article here.

Ocean Rowing

toughest-endurance-sports-ocean-rowingReaching the summit of Mount Everest has long been symbolic of man’s ability to conquer nature and, perhaps more pertinently, himself. But as more have stood on top of the world, the less mystique the conquest holds.

So what else? What is there to test man’s courage and determination? What challenge can now push someone to the brink and beyond?

You’ve seen the Top Endurance Sports – but these are the most dangerous

Well, let’s take a look at the ultimate endurance athletes who navigate thousands of miles as they row across the likes of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Learn more here.

Open Water Swimming

toughest-endurance-sports-open-water-swimmingRough conditions, cold water, sharks, jellyfish, tides, currents, long distances, high altitudes and logistical considerations are the primary obstacles of open water swimming.

This tough endurance sports tests every single muscle fibre of its athletes, pushing them to the limits as they try to navigate the unpredictable nature of unprotected bays, seas and oceans.

Some of the world’s hardest races include the 72-mile, shark infested Kaieiewaho Channel in Hawaii, the monstrous 103-mile Florida Strait and the sub-zero temperatures of Lake Pumori, perched on the side of Mount Everest.

The most physically demanding sports

Can you think of something else to add to the toughest endurance sports ?  If so get in touch!

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Are you or someone you know raising money for sport? If so, get in touch with us via, or visit and hit “Create A Campaign” to start raising money today!

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