To Be Xtreme, First You Have To Be Lucky

The lottery for the Xtri series races, including Celtman and Alaskaman, close Nov. 14.

The lottery for the Xtri series races, including Celtman and Alaskaman, close Nov. 14.

For some people, covering 140.6 miles in an Ironman is not enough—it needs to be done in the most punishing conditions. For the self-flagellation crowd, there’s the Xtri series, a collective of races around the world that promise the hardest effort—and the biggest bragging rights.

Though it’d be quite rational to assume these races are fringe events for only a crazy few, the Xtri series has such a large and devout fan base, they have to turn away hundreds (sometimes even thousands) of athletes who wish to enter each year; epic races, after all, require an additional layer of safety, so fields are limited (Norseman, for example, only allows 260 athletes to toe the start line each year).

To keep things fair, Xtri utilizes a lottery system for entries during the month of November. There is no fee to enter; however, the lucky few whose names are drawn will need to pay their entry fee immediately in order to lock in their spot. Some lotteries, like Norseman, have already closed (due to overwhelming demand, the lottery is only open for the first five days of the month) but you can still get in on the action at most other races.

RELATED: Ironman Not Extreme Enough? Try These Alternatives

2018 Race Date: June 16
Lottery closes: Nov. 14

This Scottish delight is pretty—deep waters, lush highland roads on the bike, and a run in the Beinn Eighe mountain range. Also: jellyfish, strong winds, driving rain, low visibility, and a total gain of more than 4,000 meters. Because sometimes, “pretty” is also “punishing.”

2018 Race Date: June 25
Lottery closes: Nov. 15

This point-to-point race starts in the southern part of Switzerland, follows three mountain passes to the central part of Switzerland, and finishes with a final climb in the heart of Switzerland. The hills are alive with the sound of suffering – in all, athletes cover 5,500 meters elevation gain. 

2018 Race Date: July 21
Lottery closes: Nov. 14

Covering 141.6 miles and 10,100 feet of gain from Seward to Girdwood, Alaska, this beautiful wilderness adventure received rave reviews in its inaugural race in 2017 for a course that provided just as much challenge mentally as it did physically.

2018 Race Date: Aug. 11
Lottery closes: Nov. 14

This may be the only race we’ve heard of where you swim under a waterfall (in 55-degree Fahrenheit water, no less). It’s also the only race we’ve heard of where there are reindeer and moose warnings on the bike and run. Pack your jackets—in order to leave T2, you’ve got to do a kit check to ensure you will be warm enough in the snow-covered run course.