Run the World with These 9 Races
Mayan Running Adventure
Described as one of the most beautiful lakes in the world, Atitlán in Guatemala is the deepest in Central America, ringed by three volcanoes and 12 villages. The six-day Mayan Running Adventure (from $1,995) begins in historic Antigua and then heads to the shores of the picturesque 50-square-mile lake. Keeping pace at five to 16 miles a day, you'll explore the hilly surroundings with 360-degree views of the region, kayak on the lake, take a zip-line tour, climb the Sand Pedro volcano, and be treated to a one-hour massage.
During the eight-day Top of the South Island tour with Running Wild (from $2,364), you’ll touch ground in three of New Zealand's national parks in addition to forests and beaches. The trip begins with a water taxi ride and a run overlooking the sound. You’ll enjoy 252 acres of Nelson Lakes National Park, which encompasses the northern most part of the Southern Alps, and run around the mountain lake of Lake Rotoiti, ending back at sea level along the Abel Tasman Coast Track. Expect white sand beaches, estuaries, and fur seals.
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Iceland is known as the land of fire and ice thanks to its otherworldly landscape of lava desert, hulking glaciers, and geothermal pools (great for soaking sore muscles). Arctic Running's three-day Lava Experience (from $968) starts at Lake Mývatn, a lake surrounded by lava pillars, and continues past hot springs, mud pools, sulfuric areas, and the active Krafla volcano. You'll also see Dettifoss, a waterfall so powerful that it makes rocks shake. As the scenic route continues, your views consist of basalt columns formed from quickly cooling lava, Jökulsárgljúfur (Iceland’s “Grand Canyon”), and the horseshoe-shaped Ásbyrgi canyon with 300-foot cliff walls.
Many people aim for Mount Kilimanjaro’s summit, but what they miss is that circumnavigating its base is just as daunting of an adventure. During the Kilimanjaro Stage Runs with Summit Expeditions and Nomadic Experience (from $2,125), guide Simon Mtuy—who holds the Guinness World Record for fastest unassisted ascent and descent of the legendary mountain—will run you through rainforests, past waterfalls, and onto the savanna where you’ll join zebras, giraffes, and elephants. You’ll swing by Maasai settlements and banana farms, and even give back: At each overnight village on the eight- or nine-day run, you’ll plant trees to help with reforestation efforts.
The 18 light-gray peaks of the Dolomites in the northern Italian Alps are some of the most stunning in Europe. But on Holimites' Dolomites Altavia 1 adventure (from $1,765), the view isn’t the only thing to look forward to: Each night, you’ll sleep in huts where authentic Italian cuisine awaits you. In eight days, you’ll also traverse the Fanes-Sennes-Braies Natural Park—a UNESCO World Natural Heritage park—where soldiers once fought World War I battles. In the park, you’ll run past the Braies Lake, reflecting the monolithic mountains surrounding it. For a panoramic, guides take you to the top of the Puez-Gardenazza plateau. Some tours may include a yoga instructor as well.
Running & Trekking Costa Brava
Part running tour, part gastronomic delight, the four-day Running and Trekking Costa Brava tour (from $637) snakes along the coast of Catalonia, spoiling people with the best restaurants in the region (which earn more Michelin stars than any other area in the world). You begin on the cobblestones of medieval Girona before heading up to the Sant Miquel Castle. The next day, you start from Fitor, a church in the middle of a forest, and run until you reach the Mediterranean, passing colorful Margarida Fisherman huts and the beautiful, rocky coastline of the Cap Gros-Cap de Creus natural reserve. You’ll also find one of Salvador Dali’s huts and explore private—and some nude—beaches. Swim in hidden coves, eat fresh fish and paella, and tour some of Catalonia’s most beautiful medieval villages like Begur and Pals.
Wine Country Trekking
For a side of San Francisco most people skip, cross the Golden Gate for some of the most beautiful views Marin County has to offer. The self-guided Wine Country Trekking trip (from $1,100) explores the trails around the birthplace of mountain biking and home to the country’s oldest cross-country event, the Dipsea race. In three days, you’ll explore the historic waterfront village of Sausalito and head into the 240 acres of old growth redwoods in Muir Woods National Monument. You’ll also run along Point Reyes National Seashore Park flush with whales, seals, sea lions, and more than 1,500 species of plants and animals.
New Orleans Jogging Tour
Consider the New Orleans Jogging Tour ($30)—the city’s 10K—a history lesson and a way to squeeze in your morning run. Venture out in the muggy New Orleans morning and run by the St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest Catholic cathedral in continual use in the U.S., and the 200-year-old French Market filled with flowers, fruit and veggies, fish and meat, and everything you’d need for breakfast. Head along the Mississippi, down famous Bourbon Street, and give your respects at the city’s oldest above-ground cemetery. Beignets at Café du Monde in the afternoon will be well deserved.
Rocky Mountain Running Adventures
There’s a reason world-class endurance athletes call Boulder and the surrounding Rocky Mountains trails home. Rocky Mountain Running Adventures excursions (from $250) follow the highway of the same name as it winds through Estes Park and the 415-square-mile Rocky Mountain National Park at 8,000 to 12,000 feet of elevation. Along the Continental Divide, you’ll climb and descend between 1,000 and 3,000 feet each day, and while the running may leave you short of breath, you’re guaranteed breathtaking views of mountain streams and waterfalls, wildlife like elk and moose, and panoramas of several of the area’s 14,000-foot peaks. You’ll also explore the Indian Peaks Wilderness area of the 1.5-million acre Roosevelt National Forest extending to Wyoming.
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