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A New Book: Run the Alps 30 Must-Do Trail Runs in the Swiss Alps

A New Book: Run the Alps 30 Must-Do Trail Runs in the Swiss Alps

Jul 12, 2017

Sometimes, ever so rarely, the stars align.

Run the Alps, in partnership with PatitucciPhoto, Swiss publisher Helvetiq, and freelance writer Kim Strom, is pleased to announce that together we will be producing a new book featuring some of the best trail runs to be found anywhere in the Swiss Alps.

I could not be happier to be part of this project. You can follow the project on Instagram, and share your email if you’d like to hear from us during key milestones.

Our plan is ambitious. We’re not profiling the obvious routes, but instead seeking out hidden gems. Editorially, we’re throwing out traditionally dense and uninviting guidebook writing, opting for something that we hope will be friendly and more engaging. Through it all will be the photography of Dan and Janine Patitucci.

Dan and Janine’s photography is legendary. For two decades, they have traveled the world documenting mountain sports and mountain culture. In a very real sense, their images helped start Run the Alps. And for years prior, I would casually thumb through the pages of Trail Runner or the Patagonia catalog, often freezing at one of their photos. It would transport me to a place, a moment, a feeling. Long before I knew them personally, they inspired me to grab my pack and head to wild places.

Dan Patitucci on the Hardergrat, a long ridge connecting Interlaken to Brienz, Switzerland. Dan pioneered the Hardergrat as a trail running route. (PatitucciPhoto.)

One other thing about Dan and Janine? You could make a good case they know trail running better than any other two people anywhere in the Alps. Want evidence? Take a look at their website, ALPSinsight. It’s not two years old, and it’s already filled with great trail running routes around their home base, Switzerland’s Jungfrau region.

I’ll share the Run the Alps writing with Kim Strom, an enthusiastic and insightful freelancer based in the Alps. Her story is improbable: Coming from Illinois, Kim’s first steps as a trail runner were in the Alps. Last year, she was the only US woman to compete in all three Skyrunner World Series Extreme races.

Kim Strom gets some air near Simplon Pass, Switzerland, with distant views to the Bietschhorn. (PatitucciPhoto.)

Run the Alps: 30 Must-Do Trail Runs in the Swiss Alps will be published by Helvetiq, arguably one of the most talented publishers in Europe. Go into any bookstore in Switzerland, and look for the best-designed book or game. It’ll be from Helvetiq. The content is just as compelling, whether it’s one of their unique games or recent titles like Ovo Book, a collection of recipes using that most Swiss of products, Ovomaltine. Or, Beer Hiking: Switzerland, a guide to hikes in Switzerland that finish with a stop at a convenient microbrewery.

Run the Alps: 30 Must-Do Trail Runs in the Swiss Alps has a publication date of Spring 2018, and will be available in German, French, and English.

We’ll be sharing the project with you. Just follow PatitucciPhoto on Instagram to track our progress this season. (Try not to drool on your screen.)

I believe the timing could not be better. Trail running is exploding around the Alps. In just a few short years, the number of trail races has more than doubled. Legions of new runners are discovering all that Alps trails have to offer. Brands are supporting trail runners with innovative new shoes, clothing, and gear.

Kim Strom and Janine Patitucci along the Aletschgletscher, the Alps’ largest glacier and UNESCO site. (PatitucciPhoto.)

It wasn’t always so. The change has been good. When I first started trail running in the Alps, many years ago, intel was word of mouth. Great routes were all over the place, but crossing paths—sometimes literally—was the only way to find them. Salomon trail runner Rickey Gates told me about the Leukerbad Challenge. Billy Burns, the late Chris Longbottom, and Manu Vaudan pointed me towards quiet paths in the Valais region of Switzerland. Once, years ago, I crossed paths with a trail runner atop the Dents Blanches on the Swiss-French border. He had come from Chamonix, France, and I had come from Champéry, Switzerland. We traded info like the precious currency it was.

Run the Alps: 30 Must-Do Trail Runs in the Swiss Alps will make it quite a bit less challenging to find your next great trail run. And that, I hope, will be another change for the better.

Watch it happen. Follow us and join the adventure. And get notified when the book is available. Share your email, and we’ll keep you posted!

Doug Mayer
Doug Mayer is the founder of Run the Alps and lives in Chamonix, France with his labradoodle, Izzy. He is the author of The Race that Changed Running: The Inside Story of UTMB and writes for Outside Online and Ultrasignup News. His upcoming book is a graphic novel about Italy’s 330km long Tor des Géants trail race.