Guides

Our Run the Alps team has dozens of years of experience, trail running throughout Switzerland, France, and Italy – from the high peaks of Switzerland’s Berner Oberland and the Valais, through northern Italy, and throughout France’s Haute Savoie and the Tour du Mont-Blanc. Take a moment to meet them!

Alex Langdon

Guide

HometownServoz, France, and Peak District, United Kingdom

A bit about me

Half of the year I live in the beautiful British Peak District and the other half in the French Alps. I am really lucky to have access to an amazing variety of trails for running and hiking.

I do my trail running for fun, and very rarely enter races any more, although I have completed many British long distance events and the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc twice. I love to create a journey, running through the mountains with a light rucksack and if I can sneak an easy scramble into the day, even better!

My other life

I freelance for several expedition companies throughout the year. I am fortunate to have been able to work in the mountains and wild places of Nepal, Ecuador, Jordan, Iceland, Greenland, Morocco, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as Britain and the European Alps in both summer and winter.

I am also a qualified, registered Osteopath, but having spent many years running a clinic and treating patients, I now only do this on a very occasional basis.

In my free time

I love to go rock climbing in the sun and mountaineering in any conditions. My husband and I also enjoy spending time renovating our 17th century cottage in the UK, which is handy as it always seems to need something done to it!

Fun Fact

I love making scones!

Favorite Alp trail run

From the top of the Brevent lift in the Chamonix valley, down the GR5 long distance hiking route, across the top of Mount Pormenaz, and finally down to our home in Servoz for tea and scones.

Guiding since1987

Alister Bignell

Senior Guide

HometownChamonix, France

A bit about me

Being based between central Switzerland and the Chamonix valley, I am fortunate to have some amazing trails on my doorstep. The outdoors and especially the mountains have been a way of life for me for as long as I can remember, starting with a career as an outdoor instructor in the UK and then a permanent move out to the Alps in 2006. An avid racer of both short and long distances on road and trail, I’m as much motivated by the training required as the actual competition. The Alps are replete with a lifetime’s worth of trails and races, which serves as a continuing motivation to explore and push my limits and help others do the same.

My other life

I work as a freelance website editor and designer for non-profit organizations.

In my free time

When time allows I like to go climbing in the summer and winter with friends, exploring new corners of the Alps and trying to improve my languages. The constant through all of this is plenty of fresh coffee and local cake varieties!

Fun Fact

During the final kilometres of the Dents du Midi race in Switzerland, I unwittingly became an impromptu goat herder, as a troupe of about ten goats took a liking to me. As hard as I tried to keep running downhill, the sound of the goats’ little bells continued to chime with my footsteps as I passed other runners and their bemused cries of, “Qu’est-ce qui se passé?” Thankfully, the farmer emerged shortly afterwards and relieved me of my entourage, who seemed prepared to accompany me all the way to the finish in Champery!

Favorite Alp trail run

The trail run up from Servoz to the Alpage at Ayères des Rocs beneath the towering Fiz massif, located in the larger Chamonix valley. It always provides a good workout in a beautiful setting. The first half, up to Lac Vert, involves a sustained grind through quiet, shaded pine cover before giving way to increasingly open views of the Mont Blanc massif. If time allows you can contemplate gathering your reserves and continuing up to the Col d’Anterne or making the boucle, or loop, back to Servoz over the Lac de Pormenaz in the distance.

Bruno Yates

Senior Guide

HometownAnnecy, France

A bit about me

I was blessed to grow up on the island of Jersey where a childhood spent swimming, sea kayaking and running on the coastal paths fostered a lasting love of the outdoors. After five years as an English teacher in Japan and ten years as an outdoor instructor in the UK, I now live on the shores of the beautiful Lake Annecy.

Running has been a constant fascination since my teenage years, at first hooked on the physical challenges of harder and faster, and then the great sense of well-being experienced when everything starts to “flow.” Similarly, I now love trail running for the combination of challenging ascents, the extraordinary mountain environment and the exhilarating descents!

My other life

I still work as a mountaineering instructor in the UK and overseas. I’m an Associate Instructor with The Outward Bound Trust and work for a number of expedition companies, leading groups in the mountains of Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Japan, India, Morocco, Namibia and next year, Kyrgyzstan!

In my free time

Annecy is the ideal place to indulge in my passions for biking, swimming, rock climbing, canoeing and skiing. Fairly new to the area, I’m spending quite a lot of time seeking out the best boulangeries, pâtisseries, crêperies and fromageries!

Fun Fact

A chance encounter on Mont Blanc with a beautiful French girl has shaped the last four years of my life – and many years to come, as we’ve recently married.

Favorite Alp trail run

It might have to be the simplicity of being able to run out the door, skirt the north end of Lake Annecy and run up the steep end of Mont Veyrier, at first through dense woodland and gradually thinning until… wham! Suddenly, you’re hit with a stunning view down the lake from the Col des Sauts. A final push to the summit leads to a spectacular 2-km ridgeline along Mont Baron, then the run finishes with a descent to the historic Col des Contrebandiers.

Guiding since2005

Claire Prosser

Guide

HometownSheffield, England

A bit about me

I love being outside, being active and eating chocolate! When I was growing up, my family and I spent many a summer holiday orienteering around midge and bog filled forests which I think I must have enjoyed (?!). It was from there where my love of being in the outdoors grew!

My career has been very outdoors oriented – from working at a summer camp in Australia, to taking students on an expedition to Borneo, to leading adults up Kilimanjaro. I really enjoy helping people achieve an ambition and sharing experiences with them.

Outside of work I run a lot and get very restless if I go without it for extended periods! A couple of years ago I was really pleased to complete the Bob Graham Round – a 65 mile (or 72 mile, depending which website you read), 24-hour challenge around the beautiful Lake District.

My other life

I am an outdoor instructor at a secondary school in the UK.  I take students caving, climbing, kayaking, mountain biking…  it’s great!

In my free time

I enjoy running, skiing, walking, surfing, kayaking, climbing, biking, eating, reading, trying to learn foreign languages, chocolate and cake.  I am a member of a local fell running club and regularly take part in fell races in my local national park, the Peak District. I also enjoy races further afield, too.

Fun Fact

I am attempting to learn the guitar – although I’ve not gone beyond three chords so far. I have almost mastered a fairly flat sounding Love Me Do, the Beatles classic!

Favorite Alp trail run

Coming up from La Fouly, Switzerland to cross the Swiss-Italian border at Grand Col Ferret is just amazing. The view down the valley towards the Grandes Jorasses and Dent du Geant is stunning, so dramatic!

Guiding since2005

Emily Geldard

Senior Guide

HometownServoz, France

A bit about me

I’m originally from Devon in the Southwest of England, where I made the most of the countryside by running, cycling and horse-riding throughout my childhood. I joined an outdoors club at school and was then fortunate enough to get involved with The Dorset Expeditionary Society, through which I joined trekking and climbing trips around the world, while gaining mountain leading qualifications. One trip led me to the Chamonix valley, where I eventually moved  in 2007. I gained my International Mountain Leader qualification shortly thereafter.

Although I have always run, living in the Alps encouraged me to run longer distances. There are also plenty of trail running events to enter, which I enjoy for the challenge, camaraderie and new trails they take me along.

I am now in Servoz, a 10-minute drive down the valley from Chamonix, where I live with my husband, Jack, and our dog, Betty.

My other life

I’m also an English teacher at an International school in Montreux, Switzerland, currently teaching students aged 14-18.

In my free time

I spend a lot of time running and walking with our dog, who loves running even more than me (I’m less keen on fetching sticks though!). I practice yoga most days and ski a lot in the winter. I love cooking (well, eating really!), and meeting up with friends to eat and drink together is one of my favorite things.

Fun Fact

I used to do Appalachian clog dancing when I was in my early teens. I would love to actually go to the Appalachian Mountains one day, although perhaps more for running than dancing now!

Favorite Alp trail run

For me this has to be the classic Grand Balcon Sud, linking Flégère to Brévent above Chamonix Valley.  This gently undulating trail has stunning views of the Mount Blanc massif and is a welcome ‘flat’ section for runners on the Chamonix marathon, being the last leg of the race.

Guiding since2004

Heather Ohly

Guide

HometownKendal, Cumbria, UK

A bit about me

I live with my husband just outside the Lake District National Park in Northwest England. It’s a great location for mountain running and only an hour’s drive to the Scottish border. To enjoy fell running in the UK you need to embrace rough terrain, steep hills, navigation and wild weather! There are hundreds of local races to choose from, but often I prefer to head out on my own or with a friend in search of quiet places.

My other life

For most of the year, I work as a researcher in nutrition. I am currently working on an exciting project to evaluate the impact of bio-fortified wheat on dietary zinc intake in Pakistan. Zinc deficiency contributes to stunted growth and development and increased susceptibility to infections in children. Wheat is the staple crop in Pakistan, used to make flour and chapattis, so we hope this will be a sustainable and cost effective way to reduce malnutrition. I look forward to my work as an International Mountain Leader, which provides completely different challenges and welcome time away from the computer.

In my free time

I love rock climbing. Like running, it’s a great way to travel and meet like-minded people. I have been climbing for 20 years and it gets harder and harder to improve – but I keep trying! I most enjoy traditional climbing on sea cliffs and mountain crags. The UK has some amazing trad climbing – but a bit more sunshine would be good!

Fun Fact

My husband, Shane, organises some famous mountain races including the Glencoe Skyline, which is part of the Extreme Skyrunning race series, and the Dragon’s Back Race. And no, sorry, I can’t get you a free entry!

Favorite Alp trail run

The Tour du Mont Blanc is such an obvious choice! The first time will always be memorable for me. We ran it over four days, taking all the high alternatives. The last day was long: We ran from Relais d’Arpette to Les Houches. I was feeling very tired at Flégère, but a cold drink and tarte aux pommes perked me up. We reached Brévent to see an amazing sunset, before descending to Les Houches in the dark.

Guiding since2014

Simon Conroy

Senior Guide

HometownRedruth, Cornwall, UK

A bit about me

I live in the Scottish Highlands and enjoy the peace and tranquility of this environment, but always look forward to my visits to the Alps to get my fix from the tracks and trails. After spending 23 years in HM Royal Marines as a physical training instructor, I now thrive on passing on my experience and stories to those who are willing to listen to me. I love the freedom of the trails in the Alps, and there is nothing better than sharing this with like-minded beings.

My other life

My other life consists of existing as a freelance International Mountain Leader and Ski Instructor, constantly looking for those opportunities that will enhance my life choices, and make me, my wife, and our families and friends happy. I also sit on the Board of Directors for the British Association of International Mountain Leaders, which seems to be an ever-increasing drain on my time, but very rewarding when we see the positives in solution-based ethics.

In my free time

My free time seems to be taken up with traveling from one job to the next, as well as satisfying the demands of my nephew and nieces who seem to think that Uncle Simon and Aunty Jen are the coolest people in the universe. Give them a few more years and they’ll grow up and realize otherwise! I also like drinking nice wines and chilling out to a bit of selected musical genres.

Fun Fact

I have been mistaken on different occasions for a variety of celebrities including Johnny Depp, Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore (don’t ask).

Favorite Alp trail run

My favorite Alp trail run is the Tour de Argentière near the Grand Muveran in Switzerland. It challenges you in so many ways, as well as exposing you to the fantastic flora and fauna that you can find in this gem of an area.

Guiding since1992

Victoria Chelton

Guide

HometownChamonix, France

A bit about me

I have been working in the mountains, sharing my skills with others for over 20 years.

Guiding has always been my primary profession. For the first 14 years, I spent my winters in Scotland and summers in North Wales or the UK’s Lake District. Over the years, I’ve worked in the outdoors with children, students, and the British military, and have guided and instructed privately. I’ve also been a trainer and examiner for the UK’s Mountain Qualification program.

I moved to Chamonix in 2007.  Since then, I’ve worked as an International Mountain Leader, guiding running, trekking and snowshoeing trips.

My other life

I am a mother to a young boy, Max. I am his life facilitator, and he’s my life buddy. I also work as a safety advisor for a large outdoor education provider called PGL. I assess their staff on ropes-oriented activities at centers throughout the UK and France.

In my free time

I spend my summers running, climbing or mountaineering. Winters are spent running, ski mountaineering, or nordic skiing. I practice yoga year-round. If I’m I’m not doing one of the above, chances are good that I’m busy being a mom, or sharing wonderful adventures with people in the mountains.

Fun Fact

I starred in a mountaineering DVD, Alpine Essentials, from the British Mountaineering Council.

Favorite Alp trail run

My trail running started in 2009. I love Italy, so my favorite trail run in the Alps  is in Italy’s Monte Rosa region. It starts in the Gressoney valley at Stafal, and runs to Alagna via the Valle d’Otro, returning to Stafal via the Vallone delle pisse. It’s quiet, wild, and steeped in history. There’s also amazing coffee stops along the way!

Guiding since1993