Trail Running

​Trail running is a sport which consists of running and hiking over trails. In the United Kingdom and Ireland it is called mountain or fell running.

It differs from road running and track running in that it generally takes place on hiking trails, often in mountainous terrain, where there can be much larger ascents and descents. It is difficult to definitively distinguish trail running from cross country running. In general, however, cross country is an IAAF governed discipline that is typically raced over shorter distances (rarely over 12 kilometers), whereas trail running is loosely governed, and run over longer routes

The ranks of trail runners are increasing annually. They have grown from 4.5 million to more than 6 million in the United States alone between 2006 and 2012. The amount of organized trail races has grown over the past few years throughout the world, now well into the hundreds in North America alone. Runners often cite less impact stress compared to road running, as well as the landscape and non-urban environment, as primary reasons for preferring trail running. This move to nature is also reflected in a large increase in competitors in non-traditional/off-road triathlons and adventure racing over the past five years.

The hardest races is the Ultra Trail de Mont Blanc 



The Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (also referred to as UTMB) is a single-stage mountain ultramarathon. It takes place once a year in the Alps, and follows the route of the Tour du Mont Blanc through France, Italy and Switzerland. It has a distance of approximately 166 kilometres (103 mi), and a total elevation gain of around 9,600 m. It is widely regarded as one of the most difficult foot races in Europe, and one of the largest with over two thousand starters. The combined participation in all of the events is approaching 10 thousand runners.

​While the best runners complete the loop in slightly more than 20 hours, most runners take 30 to 45 hours to reach the finish line. There is no prize money awarded.

​Since 2006, a second race Courmayeur – Champex – Chamonix (half-loop) has also been organised, and a third race was added in 2009: “Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie”. A fourth shorter “running” event – Orsières – Champex – Chamonix – was added in 2014. La Petite Trotte à Léon is a non-competitive team event started in 2011. Each team is made of two or three members for safety. The route and direction of the course change every year.



About the Author Hugo Elliott

Hugo's an endurance and adventure sports nut who's completed the Swiss KIM, London Marathon and Ironman Switzerland. When he's not in the 'office' he can be found out cycling or ski touring. He co-founded OffPeaks.

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