Run the Alps Guide

Alister Bignell

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.

Guiding since2008