The Endurance Race So Hard That Only 14 People Have Completed It in 30 Years

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The Barkley 100-Mile Marathon, held annually in Frozen Head State Park near Wartburg, Tennessee, is considered to be one of most challenging ultra-marathons in the world. So tough, in fact, that only 14 people out of about 1,100 participants have ever managed to complete it since its inauguration in 1986! That’s just two more than the number of people who have walked on the moon.

The 100-mile run, which some claim is actually 130 miles or more, has a cumulative elevation gain of more than 60,000 feet – the equivalent of climbing mount Everest twice, from sea level. It consists of a 20-mile loop around a mountainous course that participants need to complete five times. Loops three and four need to be run in the opposite direction, with the direction for loop five being the runner’s choice. Experienced runners looking for something less extreme can opt for the 60-mile ‘fun run’, where they have to run the 20-mile loop just three times.

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Teapot Racing – The New Favorite Sport of New Zealand’s Steampunk Community

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Last weekend, New Zealand’s capital hosted its first ever teapot racing event at CubaDupa – Wellington’s vibrant new street festival modeled on the lines of Cuba Street. The sport, a new favorite among Steampunk enthusiasts, involves navigating radio-controlled teapots through an obstacle course with tunnels, ramps and jumps.

Organised by Capital! Steampunk, a Steampunk events community in New Zealand, Splendid Teapot Racing saw radio-controlled cars carry teapots through the indoor obstacle course in under two minutes. Steampunk enthusiasts interested in participating had to register in advance, and according to festival co-ordinator Helen Jansen, the level of interest and curiosity in the race was quite high. “This event has pre-sold more tickets than any other so far,” she said. “This is a first in the steampunk world and a great addition to the Southern hemisphere’s premier steampunk event.”

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Canadian Hot Springs Resort Holds Awesome Hair Freezing Contest

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Canada’s Yukon territory is well-known for its wide range of cultural and sporting events that attract tourists from all over the world. Perhaps the most bizarre of these events is the International Hair Freezing contest, held at Takhini Hot Springs every year, in February. As the name suggests, the contest has people enter the springs and just wait for the cold air to freeze their wet hair!

In order to win the $150 prize, all contestants need to do is sink their heads in the hot springs that are at 40 C, and then wait  for the freezing outside air to fix their crazy hairdos in place. At temperatures of under -30 C, hair can freeze in under 60 seconds, creating a stunning effect.

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Buying Love at Bulgaria’s Roma Bridal Market

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The Romani people, who constitute one of Bulgaria’s largest ethnic minorities, have a unique marriage tradition – a ‘bride market’. Held four times a year on various religious holidays, the market is a chance for poor families in the community to arrange financially beneficial marriages for their children.

The families that gather in the city of Stara Zagora for the festival are part of a gypsy community of 18,000 Roma known as Kalaidzhi. They are traditionally coppersmiths, and among the most poverty-stricken people in the nation. The bride market is a chance for these families to get together, catch up on gossip, and arrange matches for their adolescent children. The event is a colorful one, with grannies dressed in traditional Kalaydzhii long skirts, and children running about and eating candyfloss.

The prospective brides are usually dressed provocatively in mini skirts, with gobs of mascara, flashy jewellery and towering heels. They dance alongside their male suitors on car hoods, which is quite rare in a community that generally does not allow youths to mingle with the opposite sex. In fact, the Kalaidzhi, who are devout Christians, take girls out of school at age 15 to keep them away from temptation.

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Humane Bullfighting in Costa Rica – No one Can Hurt the Bull but the Bull Can Kill Anyone

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While the bullfights of Spain and Mexico generally don’t end well for the bull, Costa Ricans prefer to do things differently. Since cattle are revered as a source of income for thousands of farming families in the nation, they don’t consider it practical to kill bulls for sport. Although bullfights are a main event at Zapote – the annual Costa Rican bull festival – the bulls always leave the arena unscathed.

Corridas de toros (bullfights) are held all through the year in Costa Rica, but Zapote’s is considered to be the country’s grandest event. At the end of each year, cattle farmers from all over the nation haul their bulls and gather at the capital, for the much-awaited celebration. And instead of glorifying man’s power over the beast, the bullfights during Zapote celebrate bulls. The animals are never to be killed, only dodged.

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This College of Wizardry in Poland is as Close to Hogwarts as You’ll Ever Get

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The College of Wizardry, a recent event organised by Denmark’s Rollespils Fabrikken and Poland’s LARPing communities, gave Potterheads the opportunity to experience the world of Harry Potter by actually being a part of it. This, they claimed, was a whole lot more fulfilling and exciting than visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park, in Orlando.

Through the event, they brought Potterheads from 11 different countries together to celebrate their love of the wizarding world. Close to 200 live-action role players (LARPers) participated in the first session of the fictional Czocha College of Witchcraft and Wizardry – it was the largest and most intricate J.K. Rowling-themed LARP adventure in history. The LARPers played the role of teachers, students and other characters from Hogwarts.

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Rototiller Racing – A Rural Motorsport Like No Other

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Tilling a field is hard work, so it’s hard to believe that there are people who actually do it for sport. However, rototiller racing is actually a thing!  The world championship is held every year during the PurpleHull Pea festival in Emerson, Arkansas, where the world’s fastest garden tillers get together to compete for the highly coveted $500 prize.

“There is simply no other event like it,” the PurpleHull website declares. “Unique among motorsports, we like to say it is the highlight of the tiller racing season. ‘Course, to the best of our knowledge, our one-day event is the tiller racing season. Souped-up garden tillers from near and far come to compete in the world’s premier tiller racing event.”

The race begins with one competitor (a.k.a tiller pilot) per lane (200-feet-long), with the referees waiting at the finish line with their eyes on stopwatches. When the starter waves the flag, the racers are off, kicking up a huge cloud of dirt as they go. The fastest tiller is declared the winner.

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Man Trains for 14 Years to Set World Record for Most Consecutive Pinky Pull-Ups

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Indian weightlifting champion Maibam Itomba Meitei probably has the strongest pinky fingers in the world. The 26-year-old from Imphal city in the state of Manipur recently set the Guinness World Record for the most number of ‘pinky pull ups’ – he used his little fingers to pull his chin above the bar 16 consecutive times in 30 seconds.

Maibam broke the world record previously set by an American weight lifter, who was able to do only 16 pull ups in one minute. He completed the stunning feat quite comfortably during an event organised at the Jawaharlal Nehru Manipur Dance Academy. The audience, consisting of several local politicians, was left speechless by Maibam’s display of sheer strength.

A specially designed iron bar was used for the performance – it had two small hooks for Maibam to insert his two little fingers. Once he laced his pinkies through the hooks, he was able to lift his body (weighing 51 kilograms) up with tremendous ease, bringing his chin all the way over to the bar.

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Theatrical Groups Serve Shakespeare with a Twist – The Stage is a Bar and All the Actors Are Drunk

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Alcohol-fueled productions of Shakespeare’s plays are the latest trend among theater circles in New York and other American cities. Several theatrical groups are experimenting with boozy versions of some of the brilliant playwright’s greatest works – with amazing results! Audiences seem to love watching drunk actors bungling lines at their favorite bars and pubs.

The Drunk Shakespeare Society is one of the groups at the forefront of the movement. Founded by Scott Griffin in New York, the team of actors perform Shakespeare’s plays while drunk, weaving improv comedy into the text. They proudly describe themselves as a ‘company of professional drinkers with a serious Shakespeare problem’. They routinely perform at various bars across the city, and they’re currently putting on a limited engagement at Quinn’s Bar & Grill near Times Square. Anarchy rules at these performances, as they invite the audience to drink along with them.

Griffin believes that audiences are drawn to the spontaneity of the act – these are anything-can-happen performances that simply cannot be replicated. “You can see so many amazing things YouTube and digital entertainment. What’s the point of going out to see live performance?” he asked. “You have to do things people can’t get at home.”

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Indian Priests Smash Coconuts on Devotees’ Heads in Bizarre Good Luck Ritual

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Every year, thousands of devotees travel to a remote village in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu to put themselves through a gruesome ritual that they hope will bring them good health and success. Believe it or not, men, women and even children willingly permit priests to smash hard coconuts on their skulls!

Breaking coconuts on a sacred stone as an offering to the deity is a common practice in South Indian temples. But breaking them on one’s own head is quite rare, and viewed as an extreme display of devotion. Several devotees squat on the floor in a line, waiting patiently as the temple priests approach with a sack of coconuts. One priest holds the heads firmly, while the other one brings down the coconuts without hesitation. The whole process is completed in a matter of minutes.

Some devotees can be seen wincing in pain as the coconuts come crashing on to their heads. Some massage their heads, while others promptly collect the broken pieces as holy offerings. Surprisingly, there are a few who don’t flinch at all – these people are often in a deep meditative state of prayer. Nonetheless, medical staff are always present to tend to serious injuries.

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Portland’s Unique Zoobombing Scene – Grown-Up Racers Riding Tiny Children’s Bicycles

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A group of bikers in Portland, Oregon, share the most unusual love of children’s bicycles. Several riders take to the hills of Washington Park every Sunday with a single mission – to speed downhill on tiny kids’ bicycles, after the sun goes down. Seasoned bikers ride at the front of the pack, while beginners follow their lead. They all take off at the same time, at the countdown ‘Three, two, one – Zoobomb!’

The unusual hobby is called ‘Zoobombing’, and it was born in Portland, one of America’s most bike-friendly cities. The ‘zoo’ denotes the fact that participants start at a spot near the Oregon Zoo, from where they speed downhill, while ‘bomb’ is a term used to describe biking downhill at very high speeds.

In zoobombing, the most glorious riders have the smallest wheels. The ideal size is the 12-inch, designed for use by three-year-olds. Those who aren’t comfortable with wheels so small prefer to ride 16 and 20-inch wheels. “On a tiny bike, you feel like you’re going faster,” said April Cox, a 16-incher who has been zoobombing for the past nine years.

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The Great Horror Campout – A Real-Life Slasher Movie Experience

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 The Great Horror Campout is a camping experience unlike any other. It’s basically the camping trip of your nightmares packed into a single night of spine-chilling fun, and it’s definitely not for the feint of heart

The horror campout is the latest project from Ten Thirty One Productions, the companythat previously created The Los Angeles Haunted Hayride. According to their official website, “The Great Horror Campout is a 12-hour overnight interactive horror camping adventure.

The scary stuff begins at 8 pm and continues uninterrupted until 8 am the next day. During this time, campers are welcome to sleep, but they might experience ‘erratic interruptions’. The event comes with a disclaimer: “During Great Horror Campout, you may be forcibly handled, moved, bound, hooded, chained and subjected to simulated torture by our actors. You may witness strong verbal content, which may be considered offensive in nature. The content is part of the experience and is presented for entertainment purposes only.”

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A Sport Called Motoball – It’s Like Football Only with Motorcycles

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What do you get when you combine football and motorcycles? The answer is Motoball, a motorized sport generally unknown in America, but fairly popular in Europe. As you can guess, it’s no dainty game. Right from the noise and fumes, to the daredevil stunts that players perform on their motorcycles, Motoball is a truly hellish, cutthroat version of soccer. The relatively unknown sport is largely played in Europe, where many countries even have national teams. Some of the best Motoball players in the world are from Russia.

A Motoball match is played on a regular football field, complete with goal posts. There are two teams of five players each – four riders and a goalie, who is the only one not riding a bike. The players on motorcycles chase a large ball that is 40 cm in diameter and weighs about one kilogram. As the bikers speed towards the ball, they stop the motorcycle with just one foot and draw the other foot back to kick the ball. The matches are officiated by two referees, assisted by two linesmen. A match is split up into four 20-minute periods.

The goalies stand in a red area that is marked as a driver-free zone. The rest of the grass, mud or concrete field is pretty much free for the eight riders to tear after the ball, at speeds as high as 65 miles per hour. Expert maneuverability skills and lightning-fast reflexes are key in Motoball matches, as is the ability to shoot the ball accurately from the motorcycle seat. There are a few rules set in place for safety, like no smashing, but that doesn’t keep the players from getting hurt.

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The Rocket War of Chios – A Fiery Easter Celebration

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We’ve seen a lot of bizarre traditions, but this is Greek custom involving two churches firing thousands of rockets at each other is pretty special. Every year on Easter Sunday, a fireworks war breaks out between two rival parishes on the small Greek island of Chios. Gangs belonging to two orthodox churches (Saint Mark and Panagia Erithiani) in the town of Vrodandos fire rockets with a single objective – to hit the other church’s bell. Of course, not all the rockets hit the target and locals can be spotted frantically running for cover.

The rocket tradition is of such importance that the townsfolk spend several months preparing for it. About 150 gang members are involved in the production of over 25,000 rockets that will be fired at the event. Derelict buildings are used to carry out the rocket-building work, with only one safety measure – they leave the doors open in case they need to make a speedy exit after an explosion. And they use bronze tools to prevent sparks that might ignite the volatile gun powder mixture.

“A good rocket has to fly fast, go far and stay lit until the end,” said rocket maker Vassilis Barkoulis. “You have to be careful in the details and process of its construction for a rocket to be good. If you do that carefully, you can have yourself a good rocket.” Good or not, producing rockets is actually illegal and there’s always the possibility the police raiding the premises. But it has never happened so far. The police prefer to entirely ignore the proceedings.

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New York Actually Has a Nightclub Service for Kids under Twelve

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New York has got to be the coolest place for kids. First they opened a DJ school for babies, and now they’re welcoming kids into their nightclubs. Fuzipop is a new company that organizes these daytime dance parties for children aged 6 to 12 and their parents. The three-hour parties happen once a month at Manhattan’s most happening clubs. Entry costs $20 for a parent and child, and $60 for a family of four. And here’s the best part – the DJ is nine-year-old!

According to the official website, “Fuzipop is a series of events focused on the celebration of music, dance and community for the next generation of city kids. This new generation has inspired us to provide a proper venue for them to experience what was once only available to a select few.” Fuzipop claims to provide an answer to ‘all our kids who constantly demand, ‘We want to have a dance party!’’.

Fuzipop is the brainchild of a husband and wife duo who also happen to be parents, DJs and music executives. Jesse Sprague, who spent years working in nightclubs around New York, met Jenny Song while dancing at a club. And when they had their first child, they threw a big bash at one of the clubs where Jesse worked. They invited almost all their club friends along with their kids – the party was a huge hit and no one wanted to leave. “All the parents said they would pay to do this, so we made a business out of it,” said Jesse.

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