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Run the Alps Guide

Jen Stretton

Jen Stretton
Servoz, France and Birmingham, UK
A bit about me

My love affair with the mountains began with climbing expeditions to the Alps and the Andes when I was at college. As soon as I graduated, I escaped to the Alps as quickly as I could and I’m very fortunate to now call the Chamonix valley my home. My passion for trail running developed a few years ago when I became friends with a bunch of people from Run the Alps and they started dragging me on longer and longer runs! I really enjoy the sense of freedom you get from moving fast through the mountains with a light pack and I’m really looking forward to many more adventures with Run the Alps!

My other life

I work as a hiking guide in the Alps and the UK in the summer and a backcountry arctic ski guide in Finland in winter. I also work as a freelance marketing consultant for a few companies in the off-season, as this used to be my full time job before becoming a guide.

In my free time

You’ll find me going up and down mountains by whatever means the season dictates: rock climbing, ice climbing, skiing or running. I am also a practicing Zen Buddhist and attend several meditation retreats a year.

Fun fact

After university, I went on a year-long backpacking trip around Asia and spent a month training in kung fu at a Shaolin temple in China. The schedule was brutal – 6 days a week, starting with circuits at 5am and 6 hours of training throughout the day. I’ve never been so tired and hungry! There was some competition for seconds so my chop stick skills increased faster than my kung fu skills! The most memorable thing was the sound of frogs chirping as we ran through the rice fields and the head-sized spiders in the women’s showers!

Favorite Alp trail run

The Tour de Fiz, which is a 30km loop above my village in the Chamonix valley. The vertical ascent at the start of the run is a killer but once you make it to the top, the rest of the run is along a high plateau on cruisy trails. There are plenty of refuges to stop at for coffee and cake, and stunning views of the Mont Blanc massif.