The Chilean trail scene

Trail Running (UK) - - Challenge Yourself -

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

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