Run A Marathon In And For Patagonia This September

800px Valle del Frances

Outdoor athletes looking for a new challenge this year may want to consider the Patagonian International Marathon, which takes place in Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park on September 28. The race, which returns for its second year, promises runners a unique challenge in one of the most beautiful places on Earth while striving to also protect that amazing wilderness.

The 2012 edition of the marathon drew more than 400 racers from 17 different countries and this year’s edition looks to do the same. Organizers of the event, who also put together the outstanding Patagonian Expedition Race, offer four different lengths for runners to run. Those lengths include 63k (39.1 miles), 42k (26.2 miles), 21k (13.1 miles) and 10k (6.2 miles).

And oh what a course this is sure to be. Torres del Paine features spectacular mountain vistas, pristine rivers and streams, crystal clear lakes and beautiful glaciers. Each of the routes shares parts of the same trail, which runs through the heart of the national park, giving runners an opportunity to experience this unique place in the best way possible – on foot!

The race isn’t just about running through one of the most breathtaking places on the planet however as it also is used to raise awareness of the importance of protecting this magical place. The marathon is run in conjunction with NIGSA, an organization dedicated ensuring the sustainable development of Patagonia, while spearheading conservation efforts to keep the region as pure and untouched as possible.

Registration for the event is now open with early-bird discounts running through the end of the  month. This is an opportunity to run a marathon (or longer!) in a place that many consider to be the last great wilderness on Earth. And while you’re there, race organizers are also offering some great add-ons to help you enjoy the place even more. For example, you can go kayaking on the Strait of Magellan, tracking Vicuna in a conservation park or trekking in the Karukinka and Darwin Mountain Ranges. These options allow you to add even more adventure to your trip.

Sound like fun? Better get training now!

Kraig Becker