What Are the Best International Sporting Events?

Thinkstock / Thinkstock

The World Series and Super Bowl are great, but if you’re willing to break out your passport, you can find even more exciting (or strange) action abroad.

Marathon de Sables

Imagine this: You’ve got six days to cross 156 miles by foot, and you have to carry all your supplies on your back. And if that wasn’t hard enough, you have to race across Southern Morocco through the Sahara Desert. The equivalent of running 5 marathons, the Marathon de Sables draws over 1,000 competitors each year.

24 Hours of Le Mans

Stop complaining about your commute! At Le Mans, a team of drivers must keep their car running for 24 hours. Whoever finishes with the most laps wins. Held every June since 1923, Le Mans not only tests the endurance of the drivers, but of the team’s unsung heroes—the mechanics.

World Shin-Kicking Competition

It’s exactly what it sounds like. Whoever falls over loses. The games originated in the 17th century as a hobby among Cornish miners, and its referees are called “sticklers.” (We got the word from that and other Cornish games.) You can compete each year at the Cotswold Olimpicks.

World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge

If you think running a marathon is hard, try ascending at least one mile in altitude along the way. Each year, competitors ascend one mile while running almost 28 miles. This year’s competition will be in Szlarska Poreba, Poland.

Extreme Ironing

The Extreme Ironing Bureau calls this “the latest danger sport that combines the thrills of an extreme outdoor activity with the satisfaction of a well-pressed shirt.” Competitors may iron wrinkled button-downs while water-skiing, hiking, and canoeing. The first world championships in 2002 saw competitors from 10 nations. Great Britain took home the gold.