Ten historical Trail-Running events in Europe

ITA – Signs at Rifugio Barbara Lowrie along the trail route of the Tre Rifugi in Val Pellice, August 2015

This is the moment of the year, when the race calendar for 2020 is already finalized, still to come or under revision with additional changes.

Consequently, this is the moment of the year, when the following questions occur in speeches between trail-runners: “So, what races are you going to attend this year? Any specific new race or event this year? Oh, it is a pity that the draw was unfortunate: do you have any alternative ideas/plan? Do you have any suggestions for me?”

If someone (especially a beginner) approaches me with the question “Hey Andrea, do you have any suggestions for me?”, in this period, I would definitively reply: “Have you ever thought to attend one of the historical trail running events in Europe?”.

The reason is that many trail-runners (beginners or not) are more interested in sponsored events rather than in approaching the trail-running with the curiosity to know how this sport was somehow initiated in the different part of Europe, many years ago. I believe that a good approach would be to balance properly the wish to attend to big sponsored and to historical trail-running events.

Therefore, here comes my personal list for ten historical trail running events in Europe. The events are listed in order of number of editions, which is the basis I used to define “historical events”. I hope this list will provide good ideas for anyone who is still finalizing its own calendar for 2020.

#1: Trail Des Dent-Du-Midi (Switzerland – 49th Edition)

Website: https://ddmtrail.ch/

Date: 19.09.2020

Trail routes: 57K Trail (57km with 3700 D+/D-); 32K Trail (32 km with 2200D+ e 1800 D-)

Personal Info: I have not yet attended it and it is still an open option for my possible plan for 2020.

#2: GutsMuths-Rennsteiglauf (Germany – 48th Edition)

Website: https://www.rennsteiglauf.de/

Date: 16.05.2020

Trail routes: Supermarathon (73,9 km with 1874 D+ and 1386 D-); Marathon, Half-Marathon and other shorter distances

Personal Info: I took part to this event in 2019 and it was a good surprise. You can find a short report about it here. http://www.emigrantrailer.com/2020/01/10/rennsteiglauf-and-haferschleim-thuringen-ger/

GER – Marktplatz in Eisenach before the 47th Edition of Rennsteiglauf, May 2019

#3: Sierre Zinal – La course des cinq 4000 (Switzerland – 47th Edition)

Website: https://www.sierre-zinal.com/

Date: 09.08.2020

Trail routes: 31 km with 2200 D+ and 1100 D-

Personal Info: this race does not need any presentation. I fully recommend doing at least once in the life. I attended this race in 2014 and I really enjoyed it, despite my bad condition (fever at 38.5/39°C).

CH – View of Zinal from the highest point of the race, August 2014

#4: Tre Rifugi Val Pellice (Italy – 43th Edition)

Website: http://www.3rifugivalpellice.it/

Date: 20.08.2020

Trail route: 22 km with 1650 D+/D-

Personal Info: the event starts and finishes in the beautiful “Conca del Pra” in Val Pellice. It is a team race (two members per team) and it passes next to three alpine huts: “Rifugio Willy Jervis”, “Rifugio Barbara Lowrie” and “Rifugio Granero”. I attended this race in 2015 and it is of my favorite training route when I pass by that area.

ITA – 3R Flags along the routes, August 2015

#5: West Highland Way Race (Great Britain – 36th Edition)

Website: https://westhighlandwayrace.org/

Date: 20.06.2020

Trail route: 153 km with 4270 D+ (95 Miles with 14000 Ft)

Personal Info: for this year, it is not possible for me (the date is too close to Lavaredo Ultra Trail), but running in the Highlands is one of my dream since I visited the region in 2002.

#6: Swiss Alpine Marathon (Switzerland – 35th Edition)

Website: https://www.swissalpine.ch/en/swissalpine/

Date: 25.07.2020

Trail routes: K68 (68 km with 2606 D+/D-); K43, K23, K20, K10 are also possible

Personal Info: I have not yet attended it and it is still an open option for my possible plan for 2020.

#7: Ultra-Alpinmarathon Veitsch (Austria – 34th Edition)

Website: https://www.grenzstaffellauf.com/

Date: 27.06.2020

Trail route: 54 km with 2060 D+/D-

Personal Info: Not in my plan for 2020.

#8: V. Sudecka Setka – 100 km Boguszów Gorce (Poland – 32nd Edition)

Website: https://sudecka100.pl/

Date: 19.06.2020

Trail route: 100 km with 2700 D+/D-

Personal Info: it does not fit with my plan for 2020 but I like the concept of the race, which reflects the origins of the trail-running races.

#9: La 6000D (France – 30th Edition)

Website: https://www.la6000d.com/en

Date: 23.07.2020

Trail route: 65 km with 3500 D+/D-

Personal Info: I love this part of Savoy and the attendance to this event is just a matter of time. We´ll see this year or in 2021.

#10: Zegama-Aizkorri (Spain – 19th Edition)

Website: http://www.zegama-aizkorri.com/en/

Date: 24.05.2020

Trail route: 42,2 km with 2850 D+/D-

Personal Info: another race that does not need any presentation. It is in my bucket list. We´ll see in 2021.

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Personal final remark: I really wish the continuation of all historical trail-running events (not only those listed here) year after year. In life and in sport, we must always know our past to live correctly our present and (maybe) build up a bright future.

Andrea De Filippo

Update: 29.08.2020

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