Trail running gets you fit whilst you soak in the added benefits of being outdoors and immersed in nature. It is calming yet strangely primal.
As I scramble downhill and leap from rock to rock, I often imagine myself chasing down a buck or running from a predator.
And to be honest, trail running certainly beats the monotony of pounding the same pavement for kilometres on end.
The added focus required to navigate the unfamiliar and unpredictable rugged terrain also keeps you mentally stimulated in a way that road running does not.
If you are an avid trail runner and are looking for an adventure that may require some travel then you need to add these five trail races to your bucket list.
Atjan Wild Islands, Faroe Islands
A trail running, music and adventure festival with the backdrop of the wild and rugged Faroe islands.Atwan Islands
Run along one of the most beautiful trails in the world, then recover with a beer on the dance floor?
That sounds pretty good to us.
The Faroe Islands comprise of 18 islands between Iceland and Norway. They are a part of the Kingdom of Denmark.
The islands are home to puffins, sheep and breathtaking waterfalls. The routes offer participants the chance to enjoy some of the most breathtaking scenery the world has to offer.
Tickets to this four-day adventure festival in the Faroe Islands include entry into one of the four mountain races:
- Ultra-Trail Faroe islands 60 kilometres
- Mountain Marathon
- Mountain Half Marathon
- Trail 10 kilometres
Only 500 runners across each of the four races will be permitted to run the race. This due to the fragility of the environment and the focus on conservation and responsible tourism.
A word of caution though – this race isn’t for the fainthearted and experience is needed.
Date: 4 September to 8 September 2019
Patagonian International Marathon, Chile
The Patagonian International Marathon takes place within the Torres del Paine National Park in Chile.
This race takes its runners through what can be described as one of the most pristine places on earth.
The big marathons have you nestled in an urban environment with impressive towers of concrete and glass. In Patagonia, we do not have large buildings here, our towers are of granite and ice, and rise over 2,500m above the racecourse…Patagonian International Marathon
There are three races you can enter: 42 kilometres, 21 kilometres, and 10 kilometres and according to the website both elite runners and enthusiasts are welcome.
Date: 7 September 2019
Two Oceans Marathon
A South African favourite that is considered one of the most beautiful road races and trail runs.
This year the Two Oceans Marathon celebrated its 50th year and is one of South Africa’s premier races. The event constantly attracts a strong field of participants – both local and international.
The event attracts close to 26 000 participants who have the choice between the 56-kilometre ultra-marathon or popular 21 kilometre half marathon and the five-kilometre or two and a half kilometre fun runs.
The trails run options are 24 kilometres and 12 kilometres.
The trail starts at the University of Cape Town. The race takes runners through Newlands Forest to the lower slopes of Devil’s Peak and beyond.
Date: 10 April 2020
Bagan Temple Marathon
Run between ancient temples and transport yourself through villages and ruins. The Bagan Temple Marathon takes place along the Ayeyarwaddy River in Myanmar. The area is home to over 2000 Buddhist temples.
Participants can enter the marathon, half marathon or 10-kilometre races.
The route is hot and sandy but the environment offers a welcome distraction. The terrain is mostly flat with temperatures reaching up to 30 degrees.
Runners will traverse through the countryside passing villages that seem to have stopped in time. As you travel along the route, you can expect to see monks, ox laden carts and farmers tending to their fields.
Date: 23 November 2019
X-Terra Trail Run World Championship, Hawaii
The X-Terra Trail Run World Championship takes place in Kualoa Ranch in Hawaii. The ranch has been dubbed Jurassic Valley as it is was the location where the famous dinosaur movies were filmed.
The trails of the X-Terra Trail Run World Championship are usually closed off to the public thus the race provides a rare opportunity for the runners to experience the beauty of this area.
The terrain is diverse and breathtaking.
Participants will run along cliffs and white sand beaches. They will also have to make their way through dense rainforest.
No qualification is needed to enter the 21-kilometre championship course. The event, which also has a 10 kilometre, a five-kilometre, and an “adventure walk” is open to runners of all ages. The skill levels required range from elite to beginner.
If it all seems too familiar, it is probably because you may have seen the same views in some blockbuster movies.
Jumanji, Kong Skull Island, Jurassic World, Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom, Jurassic Park, Windtalkers, Pearl Harbor, Godzilla, Tears of the Sun, and 50 First Dates have all been filmed at Kualoa.
Date: 24 November 2019