Staff

Doug Mayer

Founder

HometownChamonix, France

A bit about me

I’ve been playing in the mountains since I was a kid, breaking wooden cross-country skis on remote peaks in New Hampshire’s White Mountains with my older brothers. The ensuing years have been filled with adventures from the Alps to the Andes. The thought of a warm chocolate croissant can make me run for hours.

My other life

Consulting Producer for Car Talk from NPR, Contributing Editor and Run Amok columnist at Trail Runner Magazine, author, occasional contributor to irunfar, Run The Alps Founder, Cafe Co-owner.

In my free time

I volunteer on the board of directors of a number of mountain stewardship organizations, for my local mountain rescue group, and am an Ambassador for the American Trail Running Association. I’m addicted to cheese, coffee and chocolate, and have been known to stop dead in my tracks during a trail run, to visit with friendly dogs.

Fun Fact

On a mixed rock and ice climb out in Wyoming one winter years ago, I climbed the wrong Teton. Seriously.

Favorite Alp trail run

From Chamonix village, to the Refuge du plan de l’aiguille.  It’s an hour-and-a-half uphill run from what I think of as the world’s epicenter for trail running, to the best fresh-baked pies in the entire valley. The refuge has a cheerful staff, and there’s the company of Boule, the exuberant hut dog. The views from the refuge are some of the best in the region. After your tart and café au lait, run the dramatic north balcony to Montenvers and the Mer du Glace, or walk a few minutes uphill and ride the Aiguille du Midi tram back to town.

Troy Haines

Alpinehikers Founder, Guide

HometownPrescott, Arizona

A bit about me

I was first introduced to the Alps while studying in West Berlin in 1989. On a break from my studies, I made the first of many trips to these wonderful mountains. It was love at first sight. Time and again I returned to walk the trails, eventually moving to the Alps myself, living and working in the hotels in Mürren.

I started Alpinehikers in the summer of 1999. I’m an enthusiastic trail runner, and have competed in the Jungfrau Marathon, Zermatt Marathon, the Inferno Half-Marathon, and Sierre-Zinal.

My other life

When not busy organizing tours for Run the Alps’ partner, Alpinehikers, I love being a dad and hanging out with my two young kids, Sidney and Owen, ages 11 and 7.

In my free time

My son likes to say, “Daddy, you have two jobs… writing messages to people and taking care of me!  Free time is mostly about family, but I also love basketball– both playing and watching– and a late-night movie with my wife, Jennifer.  I like to cook, and am currently trying to wean myself off of devices and back to real books.

Fun Fact

Before moving to Switzerland in 1997, I owned a bakery for two years— which helps explain my love of Swiss pastries!

Favorite Alp trail run

Can I pick two?  My first thought is of the run from Riederalp through the ancient Aletsch forest, down to the hanging bridge in front of the Aletsch glacier. It’s a trail run that’s just perfect for feeling like Superman for a brief moment.

But, if I could only run in one place I’d choose the loop around the back of the Lauterbrunnen valley in the Bernese Oberland.  There aren’t many places with that kind of scenery in such a remote setting in the Alps.  Behind the Jungfrau, up above Schmadribach falls, around to Obersteinberg and back down.  If you go in blueberry season, you don’t even need trail snacks along the way…

Abby Strauss-Malcolm

Tour Architect

HometownGloucester, Massachusetts

A bit about me

After years spent in outdoor education, bringing groups of kids into the wilderness to learn more about themselves and the natural world around them, I made the switch to guiding in the US southwest, which eventually led me to the Alps. Having once lived a transient life, working seasonally, exploring new areas and sports, I’m now rooted in New England during most of the year working behind the scenes for both Run the Alps and their partner, Alpinehikers. The summer finds me exploring trails around Europe and spending as much time away from the computer as possible!

My other life

My husband and I purchased land in Gloucester and are currently in the process of building our own home. Digging, moving supplies, swinging a hammer, painting. It makes for a cheap and productive version of cross-training. We call it, “Build a House, Build a Body.”

In my free time

When there’s a free moment from work or building I’m out trail-running, doing yoga, sailing, swimming – anything to move my body and burn off some energy. I also love cooking and eating, so I make sure sharing meals with friends and family fits somewhere in there, too.

Fun Fact

While leading a wilderness orientation program for Prescott College, I spent three days in a cave with students waiting out a storm of biblical proportion. We’re talking nine inches of rain in three days. Picture dry creek beds turning into roaring rivers ten feet deep. You could hear large boulders moving from the force of the water.

Favorite Alp trail run

The classic route of the Sierre-Zinal trail-race is by far my favorite. There’s nothing like starting off in the dark in the low valley of Sierre, hitting a steep climb for well over an hour, and emerging from the woods to perfect single track just as dawn is illuminating the incredible scenery of snow-capped peaks and mountains stretching endlessly into the distance. The climbing continues over the mid-distance of the race, and it all comes to a spectacular end with a fast descent into the small town of Zinal where crowds line the trail, cheering you in!