For 5 days, June 10th through the 14th, Jeremy Wolf, Matt Lowe and I, will run through the Dolomite Mountains of Italy.
About Our Team-
Jeremy, Matt and I were teammates on the Montana State University Division I Cross Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track teams and have been both adventure partners and the best of friends for a good part of the last two decades. We have climbed to 20,000ft together in South America, backpacked, climbed, run, partied, skied, surfed, etc… from coast to coast through North America, in South America, Canada and Europe. Jeremy and I now live less than a mile from each other in Missoula and needless to say, our friendships and passion for doing outdoor adventure together is about as strong as it gets.
The three of us will converge from separate trips and flights in Venice on Monday. From Venice we will take transportation north to the Cortina area or south west of Cortina. We are not interested in a packaged product on this trip and have explored what several companies provide to hut-to-hut trail runners. The Dolomites have a large number (dozens) of full service huts or “Refugios” where hikers or runners can have a meal, a bed, sometimes shower, breakfast and even booze for the very low cost of $25-$40EU. While it is hard to believe such an oasis exists in the mountains, it is even harder to believe all that they provide and that they don’t quadruple the price like we would. The refugios are manned by employees and owners who are more than willing to be a bit of a tour guide, call ahead to other refugios and give trail and weather condition updates. We value the flexibility of doing exactly what we want, when we want and not relying on some one we don’t knows choices or preferences, not to mention restrictions and policies.
We are running through the Dolomites at the very end of the “off-season”, not ski season and literally a few days before the hiking and running season. Being the off-season, there aren’t as many options for open refugios, but there aren’t as many people and the open huts will not be crowded. Once in Cortina or a surrounding village we will get an update on trail conditions, snow levels, open huts, then finalize a point-to-point route and execute Monday evening.
Each day on our trip we will run between 20 and 35 miles through the spiring mountains, valleys and meadows of the Dolomites. We will plan plenty of time to allow for side trip runs, time to bag peaks, lakes, etc., along with time to actually enjoy the splendid beauty. We aren’t looking to race or set speed records, but rather run a ton and see as much of these magical mountains as possible… and again, they serve beer and schnapps at the huts.
There are a lot of route options on our trip and as anyone who has traveled in the Alps know, there is also a lot of access to small villages and small roads giving us some flexibility to where we start and eventually finish. Once finished on Friday, we will travel north on some form/forms of transportation to Munich to celebrate our trip… in a city that is world renowned for it’s celebrating. We won’t need to loop back to our starting point as we will have everything we need in our packs and leave nothing behind.
Capturing Our Trip-
We will be carrying both still and video cameras to capture this adventure. We are going to document this trip and do our best to not only give the audience a feel for the amazing mountains, but also the essence of our friendships, the challenges and the behind the scenes of being on the run. Our trip report, videos and pictures will be featured on www.irunfar.com shortly after returning home.
Ultimate Direction, the maker of the absolute best running packs, has been so generous as to sponsor our trip with their best packs. All three of us will be wearing the phenomenal Peter Bakwin Vest. The PB vest has more room, functionality and durability than any other vest out there and to top it off, it is lighter than all other comparable products. Our vests are our most important piece of equipment and it sure is nice having the best vest.
Ryders Eyewear has sponsored our trip with their awesome glasses. Ryders makes great running glasses that are polarized, photo-chromatic, light and will make us look cool amongst all the high fashion Euros. Perfect.
Arc’teryx has sponsored our trip with apparel. Arc’teryx has the tried and true reputation of making the best. When running or adventuring in the mountains, having Arc’teryx sure is awesome.
Hoka One One. Jeremy and I will be wearing the best shoes in the world.