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Trail Running in Patagonia: A Runner's Paradise

When I dream of running on a trail, I always see lush greenery around me. I smell rain and that earthy scent of wet soil. I feel the wind, and at times, a sun that peeks in and out.

My passion for trail running began while living in Torres del Paine, where I would run on the main road or venture into lesser-known trails on quieter workdays, to stay in shape and clear my mind. Who would have thought that a couple of years later, I would run my first ultra (a race of over 42km) on the famous W trails!

 

Trail+Running+en+Patagonia

Photos by @carolafresno.

 

Running in Patagonia requires technique, as you must be prepared for the inevitable wind that chills your bones and takes your breath away. But then, the sun usually comes out, covering every piece of exposed fabric with energy. What I find most challenging is running in the rain. Running in the rain, wherever I am, is not enjoyable for me. I dislike not being able to see clearly (although with the wind, one is often squinting, unable to see well because they must tuck their head into their shoulder and cover themselves), being wet, and feeling the heavy clothes. Especially because when you stop, the cold freezes you to the last hair.

 

Trail+Running+en+Patagonia

Photo by @carolafresno.

 

For me, the ideal weather for running in Patagonia is one that truly honors the legend that says, "in Patagonia, you can experience all four seasons in one day." And yes, while running, one appreciates the sun, even though too much can be tiring, dehydrating, and weakening. The wind is appreciated because despite the cold, one is often sweating. I rarely appreciate the rain, but a little of it can be beneficial, especially for compacting the dust that accumulates on the trails. I always appreciate it when it's partially cloudy because the clouds add a more dramatic touch to the landscape, and the colors stand out more. And since I'm not one to run for the podium, I take photos and enjoy the scenery in front of me, always allowing myself to be amazed by the beauty that nature offers us.

 

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Photo by @carolafresno.

 

Trail+Running+en+Patagonia

Photo by @carolafresno.

 

I remember a few years ago at Ultra Fiord, running my second 50K (all my ultras have been 50Kms and in Patagonia), where it snowed with whiteout conditions for a while. We could barely see a meter ahead, but when the snow stopped and the wind died down, one of the most beautiful landscapes I've ever seen appeared. That's what trail running gives you, especially in Patagonia, where you can reach distances or areas that you might not see on an 8-hour hike because you have to turn back. But trail running offers unique landscapes because you cover long distances in a few hours.

 

Trail+Running+en+Patagonia

Photo by @carolafresno.

 

The Dientes de Navarino circuit was my last 50K, 2 years ago. Completely untrained, clearly overweight, and with little physical preparation for the race, I plunged in headfirst (because if there's one thing I'm grateful for, it's that my previous life in the mountains and years of trekking guide experience have given me a lot of patience and mental endurance). It was a tough race from the start. I thought I wouldn't make the cutoff times, but I did. I thought I wouldn't finish the whole race, but I did, in a time that I'm almost embarrassed to mention, but with a smile that I think I haven't wiped off in years. The next day, I couldn't move, but the memories of each segment of the most beautiful race I've ever run remain intact to this day! That's what Patagonia and running in it give you. Every time you think you've run the most beautiful race or visited the most remote and unique place, a new one appears, and you're surprised again!

 

Trail+Running+en+Patagonia

Photo by @carolafresno.

 

Patagonia always delivers.

Tag

Carolina fresno Torres del paine Trail running Patagonia Dientes de navarino

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