First international marathon comes to Chilean Patagonia

Event aims to promote conservation in one of the last great wild places on Earth, and will work alongside a campaign that is hoping to replant one million trees.

The granite towers of Patagonia's iconic Torres del Paine National Park. Photo courtesy of Reforestemos Patagonia.
The granite towers of Patagonia's iconic Torres del Paine National Park. Photo courtesy of Reforestemos Patagonia.

Runners from all over Chile and countries as far afield as the United States, United Kingdom, France, Mexico and Brazil will descend upon the wild expanses of Chilean Patagonia this September for what promises to be one of the great marathons of the world – the inaugural Patagonian International Marathon.

The race is being organized by the Nómadas International Group (NIGSA), who also run the Patagonian Expedition Race, an annual endurance adventure challenge that combines the disciplines of trekking, sea kayaking, orienteering, and mountain biking.

Both of these events are also designed to promote conservation in Chilean Patagonia, as well as sustainable travel initiatives, explained NIGSA Global Marketing Director Ann Christine Meidinger.

“With the Patagonian International Marathon we hope to continue the course already drawn by the Patagonian Expedition Race, that is, bringing attention to the beautiful landscape and biodiversity of Patagonia, its tourist attractions and in doing so support the sustainable development of this region,” said Meidinger. “But this time, we want to involve many more people.”

The event is being promoted alongside the Reforestemos Patagonia campaign, a non-profit initiative that was organized after huge forest fires devastated the area in January. The campaign hopes to replant one million native trees in the area.

“Reforestemos Patagonia and the Patagonian International Marathon have a common vision, which is the interest in encouraging the protection of this important zone, severely affected by the forest fires of 2011 that consumed 17,000 hectares (42,000 acres) of Torres del Paine National Park,” said Javier Fuentes, Executive Director of Reforestemos Patagonia.

The race will take place in the iconic Torres del Paine National Park on September 23, and will include three competitions – the 10 kilometer, 21 kilometer, and 42 kilometer. Over 250 athletes have already signed up for the race, and registration will remain open until September 7.

Registration currently costs between US$100 and US$122 depending on the distance, and anyone can register. For more details, head to the event website.