The Chilean trail scene
Chile is a land of mountains, glaciers, valleys and volcanoes. A whopping 60% of its land, between the Atacama Desert in the north and the wilderness of Patagonia in the south, has been crinkled, cooked and cracked open to form the world’s longest mountain range. The Andes forms the backbone of South America. In Chile the highway Ruta 5 skirts its base connecting the central wine valleys with the adventure capital of Pucón towards the lusher south. Outdoorsy types gather here for the region’s rafting, volcano trekking, horseback riding and thermal mountain spas.
The trail running calendar in Chile is stuffed with eye-popping events that climb 5000m peaks, cross deserts and break new ground across previously untravelled mountain passes. It’s now possible to run well-signposted, smartly organised races almost every weekend of the year. Besides the 50k race, the Pucón Trail Run offers distances of 25km, 12km and a 2km kids’ race. Organisers Nimbus Outdoors have two other wild and highly recommended races: the Torrencial Valdivia Trail and the Huilo Huilo Trail Run. Series prize winners receive travel costs to other world-class races of their choice.
Chile has a booming economy and the races are largely attended by wildly motivated urban types, experiencing a safe introduction into a relatively new sport on their doorstep. There is also a fresh crop of sponsored national talent who are already making an impact on the world stage. Beyond organised events, adventurous running is accessible anywhere along the 4000km spine of the Chilean Andes – limited only by fitness and imagination.
The Andes stretch as far as Patagonia in southern Chile