Mirnavator in the Alps


Smart, funny, endearing, our special guest Mirna Valerio also shatters trail running stereotypes. We’re so looking forward to welcoming “the Mirnavator” to the Alps! No speedsters on this trip - As Mirna says, we’re going “Slow as F*ck.”


September 8-17 2023

This tour is SOLD OUT for 2023. Contact us to be on a waitlist.


10 days, 9 nights

Tour Category

Village-based, with one night in a mountain hotel

Tour Challenge

Learn more


$5,700 per person
$500 Single supplement

Whats included

6 nights at a 4-star hotel, 2 nights at a 5-star hotel, 1 night at a mountain hotel, shared shuttle from the Geneva Airport to Chamonix, 9 dinners, all breakfasts, trail snacks, wine and cheese tasting, catered dinner at The Hub Chamonix, a bottle of François d'Haene wine upon arrival, in-tour lifts, trains, and taxis, 3-day lift pass in Chamonix, Pré Saint Didier Spa, Luggage transfers (all nights), License-free photography, Run the Alps' certified trail running guide; Run the Alps' Guide to Trail Running in the Alps and other supporting materials.


What do you see when you close your eyes and think of a typical trail runner? Although trail running seems to be the domain of thin, fast people, it is also a sport that has welcomed people like Mirna Valerio, who in her own words is a plus-sized, slow-AF runner who lives and breathes the trail. This 47-year-old African-American adventurer, hailing (presently) from Winooski, Vermont, defies trail running stereotypes.

Who doesn’t want to share what we love with others, no matter what we look like, or how slow we think we may be?

Mirna Valerio trail running through forest in golden light

We’ll have everything from forested valley trails to mountain pastures on Mirna’s tour! (Courtesy photo).

Here’s the best part, though: Mirna has already won us over with her easy-going, down-to-earth style, smart insights on life, and kind demeanor. (Can you tell we are psyched to welcome her to the Alps?) 

So, where are we going? We’ll start in Chamonix, France. With its hundreds of kilometers of dramatic trails to run, and lively trail running culture, Chamonix is considered the world’s home for trail running. From there, we’ll take cable cars over Mont Blanc, and run on the “sunny side” of the range, in Courmayeur, Italy… then it’s off to Saint Bernard pass for a night– and yes, there will be dogs to visit. Our trip ends in Zermatt, Switzerland, where we’ll get to run and sample gourmet Alps cuisine, all while having a jaw-dropping view of the Matterhorn. 

Licensed trail running guides will be along every step of the way to steer us along the trails and provide useful trail running tips. Joining will be Run the Alps Photography Manager Sam Hill, a licensed guide and professional photographer. (So, yea, Sam’s got your Instagram covered for you!)

Join us for The Mirnavator. This trip will feature great food, top-notch hotels, a wine tasting, a cable car trip across a glacier, no shortage of laughs and– oh yes– plenty of trail running, too! It’s going to sell out, so sign up now if you want to guarantee yourself some high-quality Mirna time. (We’ll keep a wait list if you’re late to the party, so email us just in case!)

Two trail runners walking uphill through meadows in the Chamonix valley

Hiking an uphill section on the Grand Balcon Sud, with the Argentière glacier in the background (Photo: Sam Hill)

Check out this film to learn more about Mirna:

Day 1

You’ll arrive at the Geneva, Switzerland airport and take a 1.5 hour shared shuttle to Chamonix, France where you can settle into your spa hotel. 

Before dinner, we’ll meet up to get to know each other, and go through an overview of the tour.

  • Heliopic Hotel and Spa
  • Dinner
Day 2

Today starts with a hearty buffet breakfast where we can enjoy French favorites like fresh croissants and local cheeses before heading out into the mountains. The valley of Chamonix is known as the world capital of trail running, and we have a great choice of trails to explore. We’ll start with the “Grand Balcon Sud”, a balcony traverse above treeline in the Aiguilles Rouges mountains, with incredible views of the Mont-Blanc mountain range. Thanks to the Chamonix valley lift system, there are options to take a tram up and/or downhill, if you want to take it easy!

Two trail runners on the vertical km above Chamonix, with Mont Blanc in the background

High above Chamonix, with Mont Blanc in the background (Photo: Emily Geldard)

  • Heliopic Hotel and Spa
  • Breakfast, trail snacks, dinner
  • 10km, 500m ascent, 400 descent (option to extend)
Day 3

Today we’ll take the train up to the village of Montroc, and set off on a tour at the head of the Chamonix valley. We’ll run through quaint old chalets and along the Arve river. We have the chance to take the gondola up the first part of the climb to the Chalets de Balme for a coffee – while overlooking the whole Chamonix valley! After the break, we’ll run a loop to the summit of the Aiguillette des Posettes mountain, which has an incredible panorama, before heading down to the village of Vallorcine via the gondola. From here we return to Chamonix by train, where a wine and cheese tasting experience awaits us. 

  • Heliopic Hotel and Spa
  • Breakfast, trail snacks, dinner
  • 9km, 550m ascent, 300m descent (option to extend)
Day 4
A trail runner at Le Tour, on the border between Switzerland and France

At Le Tour, on the border between Switzerland and France (Photo: Kim Strom)

Our third day of running in the Chamonix valley will take us up to the Mer de Glace glacier, and on a traverse below the mountains of the Mont-Blanc range, known as ‘aiguilles’ or needles. After a well-earned coffee and pie at the stunning Refuge du Plan de l’Aiguille, we can use the Chamonix lift system to descend back down to the valley floor at the end of the day. After a bit of time to enjoy the hotel spa, this evening you’re free to enjoy dinner at your own choice of Chamonix’s restaurants. 

  • Heliopic Hotel and Spa
  • Breakfast, trail snacks
  • 12km, 1450m ascent, 350m descent (option to take train uphill to cut out 900m ascent)
Day 5

Today we head to Italy – by the most incredible route! We’ll take the cable car straight out of Chamonix up to the 3842m (12,605ft) high Aiguille du Midi. After spending some time here taking in the views and exploring the exhibitions, we’ll jump into another cable car, traveling high above the glaciers, on the Panoramic gondola across the border to Punta Helbronner, Italy. Don’t forget your passports! The change in language and culture will be clear as we enjoy a delicious Italian lunch and descend to the town of Courmayeur, our home for the next two nights. 

A group of trail runners in Val Ferret, Italy

Running near Courmayeur in Italy (Photo: Jeremy Johnson)


  • Grand Hotel Courmayeur
  • Breakfast, trail snacks, dinner
  • NA
Day 6

Today we’ll run in Italian Val Ferret – on the best and most flowy single track of the entire UTMB course! Refuge Bonatti with its huge views onto the Mont-Blanc range is a great place to stop for lunch before circling back to town. In the afternoon we’ll spend time at the historic Pré Saint Didier Spa and relax in the naturally heated outdoor pools. In the evening we’ll enjoy another delicious Italian meal, just a short walk from our hotel.

Mirna Valerio running through a river in a trail running race

Mirna is used to all kinds of terrain in trail races! (Courtesy photo).

  • Grand Hotel Courmayeur
  • Breakfast, trail snacks, dinner
  • 12km, ascent 850m, descent 500m
Day 7

It’s time to head to Switzerland! Our accommodation is right on the Italian-Swiss border, at the 2469m (8100 ft) high Grand Saint Bernard Pass. In keeping with the tradition of this historic mountain pass, we’ll be arriving on foot – thankfully our luggage can be transported up via road though! On arrival at the pass, we’ll have tea in the Hospice, which has assisted travelers since it was founded in 1050, is home to the Saint Bernard dogs, and to this day is run by monks. Our comfortable accommodation is right next door, and will provide us with a hearty dinner.

  • Auberge de l’Hospice
  • Breakfast, trail snacks, dinner
  • 11km, 900m ascent, 200m descent
Day 8

Today we’ll run down into the Val d’Entremont, in the Swiss Canton, or region, of Valais. We’ll jump into taxis for the rest of our journey along the Rhone valley to Zermatt, the famous Swiss town at the foot of the Matterhorn.

A trail runner with a black nosed sheep and the matterhorn in the background

Making friends around Zermatt! (Photo: Steph Lefferts)

  • Hotel Ginabelle
  • Breakfast, trail snacks, dinner
  • 7-14km, 50-100m ascent, 550-850m descent
Day 9

We’ll have a leisurely start and take the cog train to Gornergrat where we’ll get great views of the glaciers and the Matterhorn. We’ll run down via Riffelsee lakes to Riffelalp where we’ll stop for some lunch, such as Swiss Rösti, before hopping back on the train for the final bit of descent to Zermatt. We’ll have a celebratory meal in Zermatt to mark the end of our tour.

  • Hotel Ginabelle
  • Breakfast, trail snacks, dinner
  • 7km, 100m ascent, 850m descent
Day 10

Today we say Au Revoir to Zermatt, Mirna, and the other guests, and catch the train to our post-tour destinations.

  • Breakfast

Plan to arrive the day your tour starts, at the latest. Note that flights from the US usually arrive on the following day, so schedule accordingly. The closest airport is Geneva, about one and a half hours away. This tour includes a shared shuttle pickup in Geneva. If you want to arrive a day or two early the shuttle is still included. Contact us for details.


Plan your departure flight for late afternoon on the day your tour ends, at the earliest. The closest airports to Zermatt are Geneva and Zurich, both of which are a little over three and a half hours away by train. If a morning flight is preferable, plan on a night at a hotel in your departure city. Please discuss options with us if you’re unsure about your departure plans.

Additional Information

All Run the Alps guests receive a copy of our Guide to Trail Running in the Alps to assist in preparing for their trip.

Want a helping hand to get ready? Run the Alps offers pre-trip coaching at our cost as a benefit to our guests. To read about our Personalized Prep Program, start here. Spaces are limited and this program routinely sells out. Contact us if you’re interested!

Terms and Conditions: Read up on Run the Alps’ Terms and Conditions, Covid-19 policy, and travel insurance.

Not Included: Flights to and from Geneva; Drinks with dinner; Tip for guides.

For unique trail running clothing, visit Run the Alps partners, Insane Inside.