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NEXT DAY a person runs by mountains while a red bird flies above


Don't Try This at Home: Daredevils and Thrill Seekers

In the Long Run

You’ve heard of a marathon, but have you heard of an ultra-marathon? Some of these races go on for days...and days...across deserts and highways and even jungles. This week, we’re exploring the bone-chilling challenges that take the world’s bravest competitors to the very limits of their patience, energy, and focus.


what you’ll need

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            FOR PARENTS

            Ask About Today

            If you could hold one record for endurance, what would it be?

            Skip the Ads

            Unfortunately, online videos often start with short advertisements. Remind your campers to click the "Skip" button as soon as they can to move ahead to the video.


            50 minutes


            The Ultra of Ultra Marathons

            Regular old marathons might seem like a little jog in the park after you’ve read about these super races.


            Driven to Run

            Courtney Dauwalter is a champion ultra-marathoner. Where does she get her motivation to run such extreme races?

            Remember: Online videos often start with advertisements. (Annoying, we agree!) Click the "Skip" button as soon as you can to move ahead to the video.


            Racing at Altitude

            People from all over the world come to northern India for the Ladakh Marathon, which is made up of multiple races of varying lengths. The Khardung La Challenge is the hardest of them all. At almost 45 miles long and climbing to 17,618 feet above sea level, it is the world’s highest ultramarathon.


            Dance ‘Til You Drop

            Some people call them the “reality shows” of the Great Depression. Dancing couples had to stay upright and keep their feet moving for as long as possible… which could go on for days or even weeks! Audiences were fascinated by the incredible endurance of the dancers and they couldn’t wait to see who would last the longest.

            Want more? Read more about dance marathons here.


            A Bird with a World Record

            Humans aren’t the only ones with incredible endurance. How far do you think a bird can fly without stopping? A hundred miles? Perhaps 500 miles? Let’s meet a bird that flew for 7,500 miles and 11 days without landing! All the way from Alaska to New Zealand.

            For younger explorers

            Follow That Bird

            The "bar-tailed godwit" takes the longest non-stop flight of any bird—every year! Read about this incredible bird and see some photos, too.


            30 minutes


            Invent an Endurance Contest

            What is something you think you could do longer than anyone else you know? Jump rope? Balance on one foot? Hold a funny look on your face? Time to put together a contest. Make a flyer that advertises your endurance competition. Be sure to explain how the rules work and make it sound fun so your family will want to participate.


            5-15 minutes


            Endless Jumping Jacks

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            Time for your own endurance test. For how long can you do jumping jacks? Could you do them for one minute without stopping? Try that first. Now, how about three minutes? Use a stopwatch to test yourself. Remember, the goal is not to hurry. Keep a steady pace and if you feel yourself struggling or slowing down, it is okay to stop. If you can make it three minutes, you are doing pretty well. Challenge your parents, too! For some instructions, click here.