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In this guest post, WorldNomads.com take a look at five 'sports' that defy sanity. WorldNomads.com is an essential part of every adventurous traveller's journey. Follow them on Facebook and on Twitter.
Extreme sports is nothing new – but for some, the thrills and spills of base-jumping, perilous rock climbing and drinking copious amounts of Mountain Dew is just not enough. These adrenaline junkies need something more to satiate their thirst – and it’s these “sports” that we over at World Nomads consider to be less ‘extreme adventure’ and more ‘requires full-frontal lobotomy’.
1. Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake – Gloucester
This historic event of complete lunacy takes place in the rolling hills of Gloucester, England. The rules are pretty simple. Start at the top of the hill. Roll cheese down hill. Run after cheese – which rolls at speeds of up to 70mph – in an attempt to catch it. In the process, heads, legs, arms are busted, and some people are even injured by the hard cheese. The first to the bottom of the hill wins the cheese – 2nd place wins 10 pounds, 3rd place wins 5 pounds. It’s a high stakes game!
Every year, several ambulances are on standby at the event, as there are invariably injuries as people tumble down the hill like rag dolls. It looks like a lot of fun but we would highly advise people to just stay as spectators at the cheese roll. Although that cheese DOES look delicious – maybe just have a sandwich before you go?
Watch some cheese rolling here
2. Running Of The Bulls – Pamplona, Spain
No self-respecting list of insane ‘sports’ would be complete without a mention of the Running Of The Bulls. You all know what it is. But despite the hundreds of injuries – and sometimes deaths – at the event every year, it acts as no deterrent for participants who blur the lines between Spanish bravery and common idiocy.
We’re not sure what it feels like to get gored in the body by a bull’s horn – but we imagine its not invigorating.However, due to the increasing popularity of the event, your chances of even participating in the running are low if you are not a Spaniard - which suits us fine. We’ll be on the upper decks - having some sangria - watching the action take place below thank you very much!
Watch the Running Of The Bulls here
3. Hadaka Matsuri – Okayama, Japan
Also, no self-respecting list that uses the word ‘insane’ would be complete without a mention of anything Japanese – and the Hadaka Matsuri “Naked Man” festival certainly fits the bill of crazy.
Again, this one will be hard to get into if you are not a national – especially considering Japan’s very strict policies on tradition – but this doesn’t stop you from witnessing this absolute behemoth of madness.
Picture this, over 9000 Japanese men wearing little more than loincloths, drenched with water, in the dark, scrambling over each other’s bodies in an attempt to grasp a pair of lucky wooden ‘shingi’ sticks. If somebody plunges the sticks into a wooden box heaped with rice known as a ‘masu’ – that person is deemed the winner, and called the ‘lucky man’. He also receives 1 million yen cash prize.
Needless to say, it’s not hard to cop a foot, arm, or bare ass to the face – and even worse, when scores of people take a group tumble on the slippery platform leading to absolute semi-naked bedlam!
Watch Hadaka Matsuri here
4. Train surfing
Not only is this ‘event’ illegal, it is highly deadly – train surfing sees complete lunatics – mainly from Germany and South Africa - flying in the face of self-preservation for a hair-raising dance with death.
Around every corner and above every head are high voltage wires, which can – and do – completely vaporize those who dare to climb to the top. This activity makes Running Of The Bulls look like a nerf war.
Check out the clip below from a train surfing crew in Soweto, South Africa. Not only are these guys engaged in a war against sanity, they also appear to be involved in a weird, half-assed break-dancing battle.
Watch train surfing in Soweto here
5. Il Palio horse race – Siena Italy
“A horse race?” you might ask. “That’s not that dangerous!”. Well you have obviously never seen the fearless antics of the Il Palio horse race in Siena, Italy.
Every summer, ten horses and riders - representing different regions in the village - take to the Piazza del Campo to engage in a teaming, high velocity bare-back race which sees jockeys flung around sharp corners, and even clashes with the capacity crowd. So watch out, if you are in the front row for this event you could get a meaty hoof to the head!
Watch the Il Palio horse race here
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