January 11 2018
A runner shares a personal essay documenting her years as "the runner" in rural South Dakota.
My favorite way to get to know an area is on the run. Through an organized event like the Vietnam Mountain Marathon or the Everest Trail Race in Nepal, you have the chance to see so much more of a country than you would as a tourist on a bus or in a car. Even better: experiences that are completely unplanned. Show up with a pair of running shoes and no clue where to go, and the locals simply hand over a map with all of the trails marked. I’ve done this in the Alps and Pyrenees; I love the freedom to explore on my own.
Often I will use a race or a particular running route as an excuse to travel to a new place. As both an avid runner and traveler, I have been to more than 100 countries and lived in seven different ones. Six years ago, I transitioned from mostly roads to trails, while trying to deal with a long-term hamstring injury, and have fallen in love with running in the mountains and exploring nature.
With my home base in the Western Australia capital of Perth, I came up with this list of my top 12 places to run around the world. I hope to inspire you to plan an amazing running vacation of your own. Maybe I’ll run into you!