Sole of Travel

International Runners join forces to create a brand new way to trot the globe.

Last year, a new company called Run the World announced a first-of-its-kind travel offering: multi-day trips in some of the world’s most desirable adventure destinations—places like New Zealand and Iceland—that use running as the primary way to experience the landscape. The underlying concept is not new. Bike tour operators have long been combining human-powered transport with culture, food, and wine. And runners often travel to attend training camps with companies like Active at Altitude in the Rocky Mountains, or choose exotic destinations for triathlons and marathons. But this is the first time a global operator has combined trail running with a luxury vacation.

“I actually thought I invented running vacations, back in 2011 when I first came up with the idea,” says Greg Jensen, founder of Mayan Running Adventure in Guatemala. “Nobody else was doing it—at least not as an all-inclusive, full-time operation as I envisioned it.”

Maybe not, but others were thinking about it: Pablo Rodriguez in Spain, Malcolm Law in New Zealand, Igor Tavella in Italy, Simon Mtuy in Tanzania, and Inga Fanney in Iceland. Thanks to Google searches and social media, these local runners—each hoping to get the concept of running vacations off the ground in their respective countries—connected. Rodriguez spearheaded an even bigger idea: How about we combine forces into one brand to leverage our marketing efforts? The unanimous response was “hell yes!” Run the World was born.

Jensen, who moved from Utah to the Lake Atitlan region of Guatemala with his wife and four young children in 2011 to start Mayan Running Adventure, is thrilled with his new business, and the synergy that comes from owning a global brand with like-minded visionaries. While each country’s trip offerings are unique, each of the co-founders of Run the World share a love of running, and a commitment to providing an authentic experience of place. Participants on the Guatemala trip spend six days running about 50 miles on the remote trails surrounding Lake Atitlan, a jewel in the Guatemalan Highlands surrounded by 10,000-foot peaks, where traditional Mayan culture lives on.

“The running, the food, the accommodations, the experience—everything is incredible,” says Jensen. “Our clients are people who want to do something adventurous in a new place, and love to run.” runtheworldadventures.com

RUN EUROPE’S ROOFTOP

A partnership between Arizona-based Alpinehikers and part-time Chamonix resident Doug Mayer, Run the Alps specializes in the world’s most iconic running trails including the Bernese Oberland, Mount Blanc, and the Matterhorn. runthealps.com

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