There’s been a massive boom in sports and activity holidays. You can now take part in everything from sailing and horse riding to mountain climbing and wild swimming. If you’re keen to get off your gym treadmill into the great outdoors then Run the Wild, a UK-based operator, is offering trail running holidays in this country and France.
I asked Simon James from the company if this is becoming a popular pastime? “Trail running has exploded in the last few years, in part due to some high profile races,” he told me. “Activities like fell running have been around for a long time. Run the Wild was one of the first companies to set up dedicated trail running holiday.”
Simon says you don’t need huge amounts of experience trail running to enjoy one of their breaks. “There’s a broad range of people who come on our adventures. We have courses for beginners in the Chilterns and in Chamonix in the Alps. Then there are trips for more experienced runners, who want to practice a race route, such as the Ultratrail Mont Blanc.”
Simon says his company’s aim is to make sure you learn some new skills and improve your running technique. “You can’t really switch off when you’re running on trails – you’ve got to be watching out for rocks and so on. And that’s why our guided trips are really good because we show people what they should be looking out for and the techniques they need to work on.”
The company sticks to just two destinations for their trips, which Simon says are both easily accessible. “We operate from the Chilterns, which is just 30 minutes by train from London, and over the Alps, an hour from Geneva Airport,” he explained. “People can get to these locations easily without having to upset their work-life balance too much.”
And once you’re there, the company will arrange all your accommodation and get you bags from one place to the next. Simon told me why that’s so important. “Arranging your bags and accommodation can be a bit of a nightmare. When I first started, there was no company that would sort out your bags so I ended up carrying a lot of heavy kit, which meant I ended up damaging myself and not really enjoying the environment around me as much as I should have done.”
And depending on how you want to structure your running holiday, Simon says you’ll have plenty of time to see the sights and relax as well. “Our guests want to run, but they also want to have a holiday. It’s important to strike that balance,” he told me. “If you’re new to trail running, we get you to run about three to four hours in the morning – around twelve miles. And we have a luxury picnic stop along the way with time to take photos. It’s much more relaxed.”
Simon told me his favourite run is the Tour de Mont Blanc. “The scenery is incredible, he said. “You’re running around one of the highest mountains in Europe, across seventy glaciers and through three different countries. You get to experience the food and the culture in those places. It’s one of the most amazing things you can do.”
To find out about trail running holidays, go to RunTheWild.co.uk.