Even for those who are not (yet) up to ultra runs with thousands of metres of altitude, the highlights of the trail running routes can be conquered "running". Just put on the right equipment and get the right trail running shoes and off you go. The most impressive mountain regions of this world are at the top of the list, but canyons and Antarctica are also on the agenda. These five trail running routes you should have experienced!
The Alps are one of the hottest destinations for trail runners worldwide. If you don't have a problem with the high altitude, you can head to the cinematic mountain panorama of the Eiger, Mönch and Jungfrau in Switzerland in summer when the weather is good.
With the right experience and a good level of fitness, it is possible to walk wonderfully on the mountaineering trails around the peaks there. If that is too risky for you, you can get expert support at the Eiger Ultra Trail and start here on one of the shorter distances, for example. In addition to the actual ultra distance of 101 km, there is a choice of 51km, 35 km for the first time in 2016 and the "Genuss Trail" for a taster with 16 km and 960 metres of altitude difference through woods and meadows.
On the 35 km trail there are 2,500 metres of altitude to conquer, but in return you get to experience the myth of the Eiger North Face up close - the dream of every alpinist. Start and finish of the Eiger Ultra Trail is in Grindelwald.
The Portuguese island of Madeira is more than a holiday paradise. It is also a trail jungle. You have to go inland and run from there - optionally on shorter or longer distances - towards the beach.
Those who like it planned, make a sport holiday at the sea at the date of the Madeira Island Ultratrail. There, in addition to the ultra, three shorter runs are offered, which start at different points of the island, but all grandiosely find their worthy finish at the beach promenade of Machico.
The extreme distances are 115 and 86 km respectively. Trail running fans without extreme sports experience can try 40 and 17 km, for example, which involve "only" 870 and 90 metres of altitude difference, respectively.
A special feature of the trails on Madeira are the many stairs in the mountainous hinterland, which demand everything from the muscles. The high humidity and the large temperature differences also demand good preparation and stable fitness.
The Matterhorn, the epitome of alpine idyll and alpine skiing, is the focus of trail running in summer. At the Matterhorn Ultraks in Switzerland, the imposing peak can be seen from all sides and can be circumnavigated on various routes from 16 to 46 km.
Particularly impressive: on the K30 over 31.5 km, a suspension bridge over the glacier gorge is crossed as a highlight. The starting point for all trails is Zermatt.
By the way, the epithet "Ultraks" stands for a whole series of trail running events that take place at the most spectacular mountain peaks in Europe.
France is considered the cradle of trail running in Europe and especially in the south of the country you will find ideal conditions for running close to nature. The venue of the trail cult event Verdon Canyon Challenge is also a top destination for trail running beyond the date.
The trails lead at different altitudes around the Lac du Croix lake. The sections in the adjoining Verdon Canyon are breathtaking. At the Challenge itself, there are organized routes over the distances of 80, 60, 30 and 10 kilometers.
It doesn't get much more spectacular than this: running in a backdrop of icebergs, with penguins as spectators - that's trail running in Antarctica. However, this unique pleasure needs to be organized, and it also costs a fair amount of money.
Once a year in spring, at temperatures around freezing point, the Antarctica Marathon takes place on King George Island, which also includes a half-marathon course. The circular course across the island is mostly on gravel roads, some of it over ice and snow along several research stations.
A complete package including flight, ten-day accommodation and entry can be booked through selected travel providers such as Marathon Tours & Travel. However, the strictly regulated 100 places are always booked up quickly, despite the hefty fee of up to 10,000 euros. At least for 2017 and 2018, registration is already closed.