Top 10 Longest Sporting Events

Sports are supposed to be fun! At the same time, they are supposed to test your skill, stamina, endurance, power and many other aspects. However, these sporting events can, at times, make the biggest endurance challenges seem like a walk in the park.

Here’s a look at some of those mammoth games, which made superheroes of mere mortals:

10. Arkansas v/s Kentucky – NCAA Football

Tied at 24-24, no one would have thought that the 2003 game between Arkansas University and the University of Kentucky would go on for as long as it did. The game went on for a massive 4 hours 55 minutes, before Arkansas finally won 71-68.

The game went into 7 overtimes, with 5 players recording multiple touchdowns. Both teams combined to gain over 1,000 yards in rushing.

09. Ivan Nicolic v/s Goran Arsovic - Chess

Theoretically, if both players play a perfect game, a single game of chess can last for 5,949 moves. However, a 269 move game between Ivan Nicolic and Goran Arsovic, in Belgrade, broke all records for the game, in 1989. The duo spent almost an entire day before Nicolic ended up with a King, a Rook and a Bishop, while Arsovic had just his King and Rook left.

With these pieces, the two went on for over a hundred moves, frantically trying to get the other to commit a mistake. However, neither player relented!

In the end, 20 hours and 15 minutes later, the two decided to give up and the match ended in a draw. This game led to the creation of the 50-move rule wherein a match is said to be a draw if players make 50 moves without capturing any piece on the board. Therefore, this record will never be broken again.

08. Phil Laak – Poker

When a game of poker goes on for 115 hours, you know the price at stake had to be big. However, this was just a case of professional card player spending his own money at the Bellagio casino, in Las Vegas. Laak took a five-minute break every hour, the only time that he would spend away from the table, in just under five complete days. Laak shattered the previous record by a massive 43 hours. Despite the long hours, Laak went back home with $6,766 in winnings.

07. South Africa v/s England – Cricket

A test match normally lasts 30 hours of play or 5 days, with 6 hours of play per day. However, in older times, matches were finished only when a team won. In 1939, one such instance saw England playing South Africa in Durban. The match began on March 3rd, and went on for 9 days. Two of those nine days were off-days while one day had been rained out. By the time the 12th day came around, neither team had managed to reach a scoring position. England still needed 654 runs to win, a record total to chase even today. The match, however, had to be called off as a draw because the England team had to catch their boat for a ride home.

06. Harry Sharpe v/s Frank Crosby – Boxing

In a sport where 3-minute rounds are enough to knock the stuffing out of you, these two giants went at it for 5 hours, 3 minutes and 46 seconds, in 76 rounds of punching mayhem. Both men were tied for points until the 76th round, when they knocked each other out simultaneously. While Crosby hit his head harder, he did manage to get up. However Sharpe finished off the job soon after!

The referee had to take breaks and was pulling at his liquor canteen occasionally. The match was fought according to modern boxing rules however the last 12 rounds of their match was fought without officials. The match took place in 1892, and till date, remains the longest bout ever.

05. Rochester v/s Pawtucket – Baseball

In the AAA-League, baseball players are all showing off their best to get into the higher divisions. For the Rochester Red Wings and the Pawtucket Red Sox, there was hardly any other agenda. In 1981, the two teams battled it out for 33 innings, playing for almost 9 hours, before the Red Sox won the game. However, the game wasn’t played out in one go. The game began at 8 pm, on April 18 and went on till 4 am, the next morning. With just 19 of the original 2,000 fans staying back, the game was suspended.

65 days later, Red Wings came to Pawtucket and the game resumed. In the bottom of the 33rd inning, Dave Coza hit a weak single to the left field, allowing Marty Barrett to come in to home plate for the game winning run.

04. Detroit v/s Montreal – Ice Hockey

For a game of Ice Hockey to stretch out isn’t unusual. In the NHL, it is in fact a common scenario, especially in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Detroit Red Wings and the Montreal Maroons played for 176 minutes in 1936, during the semi-finals. After not being able to score even once, over the three-periods, the game went into overtime. The same trend continued for over 5 OTs before 2-week old professional player, Mud Bruneteau scored a fantastic wonder goal to give the Red Wings a 1-nil win.

03. Syracuse v/s UConn – NCAA Basketball

The game lasted 4 hours, and went on till 1 am, only for a score of 127-117, in favour of Syracuse. Statistics took a major leap in the game as both teams ended up scoring a combination of over-100 points in the overtime periods alone. That wasn’t such a difficult task considering there were 6 overtimes.

Six players got into double-doubles while more had fouled out during the course of this gruesome contest. While this wasn’t the longest game ever, with that record going to the 7-overtime thriller between Cincinnati and Bradley, in 1981, that game was played before the shot clock was introduced. With the game being played in 2009, all modern rules were applicable and therefore, the game was considered one of the longest with modern playing conditions.

02. Isner v/s Mahut

When a tennis match goes into double-figures, in the final set, it becomes a long match. The average set (Say a 6-4 win) usually lasts around 45 to 55 minutes. Imagine what happens when the score reaches 70-68!

John Isner and Nicolas Mahut took each other on at the first round of the 2010 Wimbledon championships. With the match tied at two sets each, the game was suspended due to bad light. On day two of the match, 9 hours of play didn’t bring about any change and play was called off again. Neither player’s serve could be broken; and on the third day, after 20 games, Isner finally broke Mahut’s serve.

In the following game, Isner went on to close the game out with two brilliant passing shots. Both players suffered tendonitis and other physical ailments after their marathon match up. Isner, unsurprisingly, lost to his next round opponent.

01. Andy Bowen v/s Jack Burke

A tennis match may last three days but when a boxing match lasts 7 hours, 19 minutes, it takes its toll. On April 6th, 1893, Andy Bowen took on Jack Burke for the lightweight title, after Jack McAuliffe (the previous champion) retired. In a match that went on for 111 rounds, each lasting three minutes, both fighters were barely able to stand.

The referee finally declared the match a no-contest after both fighters failed to come out of their corners in the 111th round. Burke had broken every single bone on both hands and decided to semi-retire thereafter. Bowen was killed in his very next fight.

Anjali nambissan
Sports Pundit member

Comment on This Article

1 comment
Reply to
  • Profile image 46x46

    on the net people have to hop on over to ps3bigskydolnwoad and dolnwoad this game for definitely complimentary. we have played it and it's actually a special game. just google ps3bigskydolnwoad and then click the 1st link. i truly wish others fancy it!