Breathtaking Trail Runs
Written By: SportsShoes
Trail running means exploring amazing landscapes, dramatic terrain and captivating views. And it doesn’t stop at your local bridlepath – there’s a whole world of stunning trails just waiting to be explored. Get inspired with our pick of some of the world’s most breath-taking trail runs.
Trail Runs in the UK
Derwent Water, Lake District National Park, UK
The tranquil waters and surrounding fells of Derwent Water are the scene of some of the UK’s best and most accessible running trails. From easy, flat trails along the shore that take in ancient woodlands and panoramic views across the lake, to more challenging climbs offering spectacular views of the Helvellyn, Skiddaw and Borrowdale ranges, there’s a trail suitable for runners of all abilities. A series of trail races are held around the lake throughout the summer and Derwent Water is also home to the Keswick Mountain Festival, which features a host of trail races, all set within a feel-good festival atmosphere.
The Howgills, Yorkshire Dales National Park, UK
Remote and wild, the lesser known network of trails running through the Howgills make for some of the most exhilarating trail runs you’ll ever experience. Home of the hardcore Montane Trail 26, routes directly from Sedburgh and Haygarth and running down into Bowderdale take you through sweeping fells, stretching through vast moorland and past Cautley Spout, Britain’s highest cascade waterfall. Still relatively untouched by tourism, you’ll be lucky to see another soul, and there is nothing like a solitary run through this unspoilt wilderness to make you feel alive and at one with the elements.
International Trail Runs
Vallee Du Trail, Chamonix, France
Known as the trail running valley and home to the famous Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, Chamonix represents the very heart of the trail running community. Chamonix is a trail runner’s dream with 18 dedicated waymarked running trails weaving through mountain pathways, forests and alpine pastures, with stunning views of mountain vistas and glacial peaks. What’s more, Chamonix’s welcoming trail running community is not just the preserve of elite runners – it’s for everyone with a love of the mountains and the great outdoors.
Polar Circle Marathon, Kangerlussuaq, Greenland
Set in the stark, pristine wilderness of the arctic desert, this spectacular trail race takes you to one of the most remote corners of the Earth. Setting out from the small town of Kangerlussaq in Western Greenland, you’ll encounter endless snow and ice, huge glacier tongues and frozen lakes - under beautiful blue skies and alongside musk oxen, reindeer and arctic foxes. Expect a demanding race and challenging conditions in temperatures of minus 10 degrees Celsius as you race through the exceptional natural beauty of the arctic tundra.
The Mesa Trail, Boulder, Colorado
Steeped in running heritage, the Colorado town of Boulder is also home to the enchanting Mesa Trail. Running through Boulder’s beautiful mountain parks at the foot of the stunning Flatirons, the Mesa Trail takes in wildflowers, babbling brooks, pine trees and dramatic mountain views. An out and back route totals a hilly 13.4 miles, but the Mesa trail is also the main artery of a trail network that gives access to a host of other trails in the Flatirons. A training ground for world class ultra-runners, the greatest thing about the Mesa trail is that it’s also accessible to runners of all abilities.
Safaricom Marathon, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya
It’s safe to say you’ll never run another 26.2 miles like it. Set in the stunning Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, this fundraiser event will see you run across Africa’s most breath-taking scenery, over beautiful golden plains amongst the world’s most incredible wildlife. Watched over by helicopters and armed rangers, you’ll endure scorching sun and gruelling terrain against a backdrop of zebras, giraffe and other big game animals. This is a tough, gruelling race - but a once in a lifetime experience you’ll definitely never forget.
Banff, Banff National Park, Alberta.
This beautiful mountain resort town, situated in the heart of the magnificent Canadian Rockies is not only blessed with spectacular scenery, but also a first-class network of running trails. Making it a mecca for trail runners of all abilities. Trailheads are located conveniently close to the centre of town - you can take the 5K out and back trail to the summit of Tunnel Mountain, head further afield to Sulphur Mountain and Mount Borgeau for stunning lake views, or simply take the flat easy trail alongside the tranquil waters of the Bow River. Whichever path you take, you’re guaranteed spectacular views, rich wildlife and an epic trail running experience.