Combining Runcations with a Trail Racing Adventure
I’ve spent a few summers running in the Dolomites, and this weekend was my first time seeing so many runners on the trails! Cortina d’Ampezzo, also known as the Queen, or crown jewel of the Dolomites, hosts the Lavaredo Ultra Trail each year, bringing a crowd of runners from all over the world at the end of June. Despite dealing with a hamstring injury for most of the spring, I couldn’t resist participating in both the Skyrace and Cortina Trail to soak up the experience of running on some majestic trails with an array of trail runners from different countries.
Trail racing in a different country is an awesome way to check out running culture. From the euro trail gear, to the contents of the aid stations, to the rock music countdowns at the start of each race, it’s a new way to experience racing. The crowd support along the course was amazing as well and it was fun to see so many locals supporting the race.
These races were TOUGH. I think one mile of the Skyrace had elevation grades up to 44%, and 30 miles on Dolomiti tracks are no joke. However, what, you may ask, is the hardest part of racing in the Dolomites? It’s knowing just how good they can be at a Runcation pace. There are just too many views around each corner and the area is simply too scenic to soak up when you’re racing and pushing towards a finish line (even at a moderate pace). It was a challenge to keep running past the rifugio with my favorite strudel and resist the urge to pull out my camera every mile. One of the rifugios at the highest point in the race sits on a spectacular saddle with a view of the Cinque Torri and Tofana. Instead of refilling my water and continuing to run like I did this weekend, I’m looking forward to getting to this same spot next week to drop off my hydration pack, order a glass of wine, and wait for the sunset from the deck. I’m grateful to be heading back with my Dolomites Runcation crew to spend a little more time soaking up the views, taking photos, stopping for cappuccinos, spending the evenings at the scenic rifugios, and tackling a point-to-point longer route one day at a time.
All in all, combining a European trail race with your Runcation is an excellent way to combine racing and vacationing, meeting runners from all over the world, and having an excuse to spend a few extra days in our Runcation locations. Stay tuned for what options we have planned for next summer!