8 Endurance Brands and Sports That Every Adventure Junkie NEEDS to Try

8 Endurance Brands and Sports That Every Adventure Junkie NEEDS to Try

Over a decade ago, we set out to complete one straightforward, yet gargantuan goal: to change 100 million lives by getting people off of the couch and out of their comfort zones. At its core, Spartan is an obstacle course racing company, offering the most challenging (but life-changing) 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, and 50Ks in the world. But as we continue to evolve and push closer toward that original goal, we've expanded in staggering geographic breadth across the entire globe, and the depth and diversity of our events has also expanded to new heights. These are the events that every endurance athlete MUST try.

Spartans are very rarely just obstacle course racers. You're runners, hikers, swimmers, bikers, and overall endurance fiends. Your craving for a seemingly unbeatable challenge is insatiable, and you spend your entire life attempting to satisfy it. Committing to doing hard, unforgettable things is mandatory, but committing to just one athletic discipline never is. 

Related: Are These the 7 Hardest Endurance Events in the World?

To help you get started on the most thrilling, adrenaline-filled journey of your life, we've broken down everything there is to do in the Spartan universe, from obstacle course racing to paddling across the Pacific Ocean.

Every Spartan Brand and Sport That Fitness Addicts and Endurance Junkies Need to Try

1. Obstacle Course Racing

Spartan and Tough Mudder

Obstacle course racing is the crux of the Spartan brand, and Spartan racing has become more than just a sport: It's a global community and an unbreakable identity. With distances ranging from 5K to 50K, and events held in some of the world's most famous and jaw-dropping stadiums, ski resorts, cities, and landmarks, there's a race on the Spartan schedule for athletes of all abilities, interests, and disciplines.

Plus, our acquisition of Tough Mudder in early 2020 made it possible for longtime racers of both brands to explore new obstacles on different courses across the country and world, and connect with an entirely new, welcoming community. Tough Mudder, too, offers a wide variety of race distances, including 5Ks, 10Ks, 15Ks, and a variety of endurance-based races.  

2. Trail Running

Spartan Trail (Including Global and Spartan Trail World Championship Events)

Some runners prefer the discomfort of the outdoors, traipsing through deeply wooded trails and scrambling up the steepest mountainsides, to the discomfort of obstacles. If you've never done a Trail race, you're seriously missing out on some of the most awe-inspiring views, deepest self-reflection, and most life-changing solitude the planet has to offer. 

Related: Every Spartan Trail Race on the U.S. Schedule: Dates, Details, and More

In a Spartan Trail race, you can spend days exploring the most remote, untouchable corners of the globe. Not only can you tackle distances from 10K to 50K in the U.S. and Canada, but you can attempt our top-tier series of international races. The Spartan Trail World Championship features world-renowned runs of up to 100K, such as the Patagonia Run

3. Functional Fitness

DEKA

DEKA is where the grit and perseverance of being a Spartan meets what Spartan CEO Joe De Sena called the "clean and pristine" nature of a traditional gym setting. As a functional fitness athlete, you don't often come across organized events that will truly test your fitness. And if you're not setting a benchmark that you intend to blow out of the water a few months later, how do you plan to improve?

Related: 5 Things You Don't Know About DEKA FIT (and Why It Will Change Your Life)

DEKA is your chance to do just that. There's no mud, there are just 10 signature zones of functional fitness — from weighted reverse lunges to sled push/pulls — and you can choose your event based on how much or how little running you want to do (from zero mileage to a 5K). And if you don't have access to the equipment to train, no worries. The DEKA FIRE bodyweight challenge is perfect for you. 

4. Extreme Endurance Events

Hurricane Heat, Agoge, Bloodroot Ultra, Mount Sparta, Spartan Death Race, Camp Spartan, Snow Devil Snowshoe

Everyone has a — perceived, at least — limit. Extreme endurance events are about consistently pushing that limit, both physically and mentally, to its very brink. These events are truly some of the most grueling experiences imaginable, and have completely transformed lives. 

Whether you're looking for a more team-based challenge like a Hurricane Heat, an individual trial in an unheard-of location featuring never-before-seen missions (Agoge), a legendarily difficult race in which you literally might die (Death Race), or you simply want to see how far or fast you can conquer a seemingly neverending course with insane terrain, we've got you covered. 

5. Mountain Biking

La RutaWoodsplitter

To be a Spartan means to be incredibly versatile in your athletic abilities, and mountain biking appears to be a favorite among top Spartan performers. In fact, Spartan World Champions (and spouses) Ryan Atkins and Lindsay Webster have taken quite seriously to mountain biking, and the vigorous sport has been known to show up on the Spartan Games roster. 

In 1993, Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee Roman Urbina created the world's first stage mountain bike race, La Ruta, in Costa Rica. It has since become widely regarded as the toughest cycling event on the planet.

“La Ruta is a soul-swapping hard, exotically wild, singular journey across laughably steep inclines, hysterically steep descents, through jungles, plantations, villages, across ecosystems and temperate zones, over volcanoes and beaches and terrain that you never quite imagined you could ride on a bike," 2013 finisher Chris Case said

As a contrast to Costa Rica's tropical climate, Woodsplitter allows racers to gather in the home of Spartan — Pittsfield, Vermont — for a 20K, 6-hour mountain bike course through the lush, gnarly Green Mountain trails.

6. Adventure Hiking

HIGHLANDER

Adventure hiking is like a trail run, but with a hell of a lot more time and energy devoted to taking in the views and taking your time. HIGHLANDER is considered the "adventure of a lifetime" for a reason: It's not just for professional hikers. It's for everyone who loves nature, breathtaking scenery, and a mental and spiritual challenge. 

Related: What Makes HIGHLANDER the Adventure of a Lifetime?

The Croatian-born event offers two-, three-, and five-day hiking excursions where you can connect with yourself, others, and Mother Nature in bucket-list countries across the globe, including the U.S. The trails — up to 100K in distance — are designed by local mountaineers, giving you unique and extended glimpses into the most iconic mountains in the world. 

7. Paddleboarding

M2O

Molokai-2-O'ahu (M2O) launched its first race in the summer of 1997: a 32-mile Hawaiian paddleboarding race from Kalua Koi on Molokai to the beach at the Maunalua Bay Beach Park, across the Ka'iwi Channel (which plunges to depths up to 2,300 feet). The first-of-its-kind event became a hit, and the competitive 22-mile, coastal Bluewater Classic and 32-mile M2O Paddleboard World Championship events now sell out annually with prone and stand-up paddleboarding athletes across the planet.

M2O paddleboarding has not only become a popular challenge to stimulate athletic adventure in spite of flat summer surf, but also a tribute to the Hawaiian heritage of early Polynesians who once traversed the open ocean guided only by the wind and stars.

8. Combat Sports

Spartan Combat

Cornell University alumnus De Sena LOVES the sport of wrestling, and with historic roots in ancient Greece, the Spartan tie-in is a no-brainer. Plus, the hardcore sport, known for its incredibly rigid training regimens, is an unbeatable way to teach discipline to kids — another one of De Sena's areas of specialty. 

Today, Spartan Combat — in partnership with elite wrestlers like Kyle Dake — puts on epic events across the country, including the Spartan National Championship, the Combat Cornell Duals, and the Castleton Fall Classic.

Upcoming Spartan Race Schedule