Ultra Running at Altitude
LiveTheLifeinEcuador | May 13, 2015
If you’re an endurance athlete who’s tired of the usual marathon, Ecuador is the right place for you to push your limits. Welcome to the world of ultra running, where runners from across the globe go beyond the standard 42 kilometers and reach distances of up to 1,600 kilometers. Ultra running is no mean feat; it not only tests your physical fitness, but your mental capacity as well.
Inclement weather, elevation changes, and rough terrain are some of the common obstacles an ultra runner has to overcome, but some have taken the sport to even greater heights. Some runners want to run across the land, but some dare to run in the sky, and thus, skyrunning was born. While ultra running at high altitude hasn’t gained much popularity in Ecuador (yet), there’s no denying the fact that the terrain lends itself very well to it. Here are some spots you should check out to acquaint yourself with ultra running at altitude.
Cotopaxi National Park
While we don’t recommend running all the way to the summit of Mt. Cotopaxi as it is perennially covered in snow, vertical running on the volcano’s first thousand meters will allow you to acclimatize and avoid altitude sickness. You can start at the 33,390-hectare reserve the volcano sits on and run all the way to Cotopaxi’s lower heights; it’ll test your legs, your stamina, and your mental strength.
Intag Cloud Forest Reserve
Run your way through El Refugio de Intag’s fields and thick forests. Located in Imbabura Province, the reserve is elevated at around 6,000 feet, an excellent starting point for those who are interested to try ultra running at altitude.
Who said you have to go deep within Ecuador to run at altitude? The Ecuadorian capital of Quito is already elevated at an impressive 9,350 feet as it sits on Pichincha’s eastern slopes. With its spectacular vistas of some of the country’s highest peaks, as well as its impressive maze of historic buildings and attractions, ultra running through Quito is far from boring.