Friday, 7 June 2013

The Andes And The Amazon - Peru

Indiana Jones-style in the Amazon
I recently got back from two weeks in Peru and will be writing about it on irunfar soon, but in the meantime here are some photos from the mountains and jungles. Peru is a perfect trail-running location with some of the most amazing routes and views you can imagine.

In the Andes the Incas made something like 60,000 miles of roads according to the guides I met (basically stone steps over very steep routes). These aren't runnable uphill since they're often at 45 degrees or steeper and at altitudes that are sometimes higher than any point in the European Alps. They're also tough to run downhill but the combination of power-hiking and running allows a lot more distance to be covered than the tourist masses are willing to attempt.

Then in the Amazon the trails are usually cut straight up and down steep muddy slopes with a machete, leaving sharp stubs of bamboo and other trees along the floor. Everything seems to want to bite, sting or puncture you in some way with plenty of poisonous snakes (be careful of the ones that will chase you rather than just bite if you're close by), spiders, other bugs or larger animals like wild boars, jaguars, caimans (like crocs). Also, most of the undergrowth is spiky so it's a harsh environment with high temperatures and 100% humidity.

The underlying theme is that it's all very beautiful and trail runners won't find many better locations to visit, although guides are required for many places including the famous Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and parts of the jungle.

Race photos courtesy of Martin Paldan

Guinea pig head (the rest was already eaten at this point)

Not my foot, but everyone got eaten alive in the jungle.


  1. Did you have a go at the Inca trail in one push? Permits are a pain there though so I'm not quite sure how to go about doing that without forking over a ton of money for one of the "guided" marathons.

  2. Unfortunately I didn't get to hike or run the actual Inca Trail thanks to the agency I used (SAS) forgetting to purchase the permit months in advance, despite lots of emails back and forth and paying them. Luckily there were plenty of other great trails that didn't require a guide or permit.

  3. Ah that sucks, still as you pointed out there are a lot of trails over there. I still can't quite wrap my brain around "running" some of them though. It was pretty wet when I was there a few years ago so the stone trails were a bit treacherous. Hopefully it was dry for you.

    Good luck with Western! Looking forward to seeing how the race unfolds.