Let nature lead the way
Kim Strom is an author, Janine and Dan Patitucci are professional mountain sports photographers. All trail running experts, the three of them regularly run Switzerland’s most beautiful mountain trails and have published a book based on their experiences. They have collected the best trail running routes for MySwitzerland.com and tell us why this sport appeals.
Was jogging not exciting enough for you anymore?
To be honest, we never found it that exciting. Then we discovered trail running in the late 1990s. What fascinated us is that it gives you the opportunity to discover the world: Patagonia, Iceland, the Himalayas and now the Alps. We’ve run all over the world. Plus, there’s the physical aspect. Your body’s reactions to the challenging terrain are immediate. Sometimes it’s blissful, but sometimes it can feel totally chaotic.
What is driving this trend?
Many people want to exercise in the mountains, to get away from the crowds and traffic of urban centres. Also, running on trails is much more interesting and fun than pounding the streets. Every trail run is a mini adventure: you choose and plan you dream route, prepare accordingly and are rewarded with breathtaking views, an unparalleled sense of freedom and nearly meditative solitude.
What tips would you give novice trail runners?
Running is a great way to improve your fitness. Choose the route for your first trail run very carefully: not every hiking path is also a great trail for running. For Switzerland, our book “Trail Running Schweiz” is a great place to start.
What characterises trail running in Switzerland?
There is a whole range of reasons why some the Swiss Alps are home to some of the best trail running routes in the world. Firstly, the magnificent mountain backdrop: With 48 peaks over 4,000m and more than 140 glaciers across 3,000km2, the mountains are in one of the most glaciated regions of the world. So phenomenal views are guaranteed. Secondly, hardly any other country offers such a diverse landscape in such a compact space. One single run can take in forests, pass over high Alpine passes, follow glaciers, cross meadows and go through secluded villages. And thirdly, there is the famously reliable public transport system. You can reach almost every valley in Switzerland with an increasingly efficient network of trains, buses, boats and cableways.