The World´s most difficult physical challenges has to be the Kaihogyo thousand day marathon

One of the world's most difficult physical challenges is the Kaihogyo 1,000 day marathon. The marathon can only be carried out by Buddhists monks belonging to Japan's Tendai sect of Buddhism. It takes 1,000 days to complete spread out over seven years. The monks who complete the event are said to receive a better understanding of the universe. The kaihōgyō takes place on Mount Hei, which overlooks the ancient capital of Japan, Kyoto. The grueling, 1,000-day, seven year event, has a different regimen each year. For the first year, a monk must run 30K each day for 100 consecutive days. On top of this, they must still perform their regular temple duties, leaving very little time for sleep. Endo Mitsunaga, the most recent monk to complete the challenge, would wake up at a bit after midnight, lace up the straw sandals he was required to wear, and run up and down the mountain, stopping to pray at about 260 different shrines along the way. At 8 a.m., he would return and perform his duties at the temple. Each night, he slept about 4 and half hours. As Mitsunaga ran throughout the mountain, he would also pass by a number of unmarked graves. These, along with the knife at his side, were reminders of the seriousness of kaihōgyō. At the end of the first year — the first 100 days — a monk is permitted to withdraw from the challenge. If, however, they decide to embark on the 101st day of the marathon, they are no longer permitted to stop. If they fail, tradition demands that they take their own lives. Mount Hei is littered with the graves of monks who failed to meet the challenge; none, however, date from the later than the 19th century. If the monk chooses to continue, the next two years go on much like the first: 30 km per day for 100 consecutive days, praying at shrines throughout the mountain, and taking care of their duties at the temple. Then, for the fourth and fifth year, the monk must run 30 km per day for 200 consecutive days. Here, a little bit after the midpoint, comes perhaps the most difficult aspect of this practice. The insane mental and physical commitment that it takes to complete kaihōgyō puts it squarely among the most challenging tasks in the world. By year six they are running and walking 60K for 100 days and by year seven they have to cover 84K per day for 100 days.  In fact, it's so challenging, that only 46 monks have completed the challenge since 1885.

posted Thursday November 8th