Trail Running is in. It’s gaining popularity left right and centre and shows no sign of slowing down. We caught up with Sophie Radcliffe, trail running enthusiast and adventurer-extrordanaire to find out why she loves trail running in her home town, Chamonix.
‘After an intense summer completing the Alpine Coast to Coast expedition, which involved cycling the Alps and climbing their highest mountains, I was looking for something that would enable me to stretch my legs and keep my fitness up, but something that would fuel my soul and energy without demanding too much from me. I found this in trail running.
I love how running in the mountains makes me feel; strong, and free. It opens up my mind and relieves the pressures I have when I’m at my desk. It challenges every part of me to push harder, to run faster and ignore the desire to stop and catch my breath. Some days I feel as though a weight is pushing me back down when I’m trying to go up. Some days I feel like I can run up these mountains almost effortlessly. The effort is hard but the rewards are plenty.
The views, the colours and the beautiful mountains take my breath away as I run and look at what is going on around me. I normally run at sunrise or sunset to amplify the beauty of my surroundings. 6 months ago I lived in London and ran on the streets there, this world is so different and I feel so lucky to live here and call this place home. Running has never come easy to me and I’ve always found it a struggle until now. It doesn’t feel like training, it feels like my favourite thing to do.
Come and run here and you’ll see what I mean. It gives me energy, it feeds my life and it makes me smile. Getting ridiculously fit is great too!’
As 2014 drew to a close the upmysport team convened in Chamonix to chat about their year, discuss plans for 2015 and meet with some friends by a warm fire. Seeing as Sophie had got us all jazzed about trail running, Michael and George decided embark on a little adventure themselves.
You can run or hike your way through Chamonix and the surrounding areas on well-kept trails which comb the hillsides between Servoz and Vallorcine. The majority of the trails close as the snow sweeps in, but they were lucky enough to get a few days of excellent trail-running in during our trip.
The first excursion took them through the city centre and out onto the trails where they crossed the bridge and followed the river up into the mountains.
They climbed for another half an hour or so, climbing around rocks and navigating over the many streams that dot the hillside. The hard work paid off and the guys were presented with a beautiful view of Chamonix as they turned the corner.
We can see what all the fuss is about.
And if you fancy having a crack at trail running, the season has just finished in the mountains but you can get yourself ready to take on those hills with any of the brilliant running instructors we have in our community.