While many of us enthusiastically follow international sporting events like the Olympics or the World Cup, a very small percentage of people are actually able to participate. But why should professional athletes have all the fun? There are plenty of sports events around the world that anyone can participate in, whether you’re a fitness fanatic, an amateur athlete, or an adrenaline junkie looking for a new thrill. Read on to learn about a few of the international events that you can take part in.
Running of the Bulls: Pamplona, Spain
Probably the most well-known event on this list, the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, is an annual mad dash in which runners attempt to cover 875 meters (just over half a mile) without being gored or trampled by the herd of bulls that are set loose behind them. It’s free to participate and there’s no official sign-up, but it’s certainly not for anyone who is particularly concerned with their own mortality. The 2013 event saw a total of 35 injuries, with the majority of them occurring in a massive pile-up at the entrance to the bull ring on July 13th. If you laugh in the face of danger and still have the Running of the Bulls on your bucket list, get yourself over to Pamplona between the 7th and 14th of July. The event is run every morning at 8 during this week, and participants meet up near the historical Town Square.
Cycling with Tour d’Afrique: Worldwide
If you’re looking for an event that’s physically challenging but comes with less of a chance of getting impaled, then cycling around the world with Tour d’Afrique might be more your speed. The touring company offers guided group expeditions for many different ability levels and across every continent except Antarctica (it’s kind of difficult to bike in the snow). Join their flagship expedition to cross 10 African countries in four months, or explore Europe by following the route of the Orient Express. If you’re really up for an odyssey, you can follow the famous Silk Road route across Asia for 18 weeks. For those who don’t want to commit to such long expeditions but still want to explore some of the world’s most spectacular regions by bike, you can also sign up for shorter legs of each tour.
London Marathon: London, England
More comfortable pulling on a pair of running shoes than climbing onto a bike? Consider participating in a renowned international race like the London Marathon. You’ll get to explore some of the most historically significant and bustling areas of the famed British city, all on a world stage with more than half a million spectators lined up along the course. The race is a huge draw for both professional international athletes and amateur runners from around the world, and in addition to being one of the largest marathons, it also holds the Guinness Record for being the single largest fundraising event in the world. Unfortunately, the ballot to enter the 2014 marathon is already closed, but you may still be able to sign up if you’re running for a charity.
Ironman Triathalon: Various Locations
There’s no doubt an Ironman triathalon is one of the most grueling athletic events you can complete. If you think running a 26.2 mile marathon sounds tough, try swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and then finishing with that marathon. Completing an Ironman requires plenty of training and willpower, but if you make it to the end, you’ve essentially got bragging rights for life. These triathalons are held around the world, with some exciting locations including Pucon, Chile; Victoria, Australia; and Nice, France.
This, of course, is just a small sampling of the many international sporting events that anyone can participate in. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to accomplish amazing feats and become one of the elite few who has taken part in some of the most incredible events across the world. However, any event you participate in does require a certain amount of training and preparation. But think of it this way: an exciting international sporting event can serve as great motivation for you to start training and getting in great shape!
Josh Weiss-Roessler is co-owner of Weiss-Roessler Writing. When not writing, you’ll usually find him spending time with his wife, genius (okay, not technically) toddler son, and two tiny-but-fierce dogs.