Zolkan 4 Days – An Ultra Marathon That Run’s Across Chile
Although, we’ve been in Chile over a year now, we haven’t done an extreme amount of outdoor exploring yet. Because we don’t know the available routes here for trails (and they’re not easy to find online in our experience), we haven’t seen much of the wilderness side of Chile thus far, which is a shame with all of the trail running we love to do. So, with the New Year approaching, we decided this is one of the things we want to do more of….explore and run the “untouched” grounds of Chile.
There are countless travel agencies and touring tours popping up in every country, including Chile. Whether you want to see the Atacama or experience the Chilean coast…there’s a company that has a tour for it. However, seeing a country from a bus and stepping out every so often to snap a pic does not do any country justice.
What do we propose instead in order to experience a country like Chile from more of a grass roots style? RUN IT! Our next race is less than two weeks away and its a multi-day stage race called the Zolkan 4 Days.
What is the Zolkan 4 Days Trail Race?
TrailChile and No Limits have joined forced to start a new race here in Chile called the Zolkan 4 Days Trail. That’s right, 4 days of running through Chile on trails. Zolkan will be showcasing this new event January 6-9, 2016, taking competitors from La Parva situated in the eastern Andes of Chiles all the way across to Maintencillo, sitting directly on the Pacific ocean coast. This 120 km race has competitors running roughly a marathon a day in distance and then camping outside in tents overnight. Sounds a bit extreme, stage races have a strange appeal to them that often has racers coming back year after year, read our post on What’s so great about stage races.
Is this a Self Supported Race?
This is a semi-supported stage race that allows competitors to experience Chile in a whole new way. After a day of running through the diverse landscapes of Chile, you arrive at camp where your bag, tent, and freshly made food awaits you. So the only things you need to carry with you while running are the items you will need out on the trail (running snacks, electrolytes, clothing, etc). Local caterers provide various food using Chilean ingredients to fill you up for the next day of running. So to sum it all up, you get a scenic tour on-foot, a wicked workout, and get to experience some Chilean food at the end of it all.
Best yet? This is a race you can repeat every year and never get bored. The organizer’s of Zolkan 4 Day Trail believe in keeping it interesting, so every year the course will move to a new location within Chile, take you through new untouched grounds.
Can You Run This Race as a Team?
Zolkan 4 Day Trail is keeping this race unique in another aspect by having a team category on top of the individual. Teams are comprised of 2 people, both males, both females or a mixed team, and they must stick together the whole route. Competitors in all categories will be coming from all corners of the world including France, Canada, USA, Brazil, and of course Chile.
We know of countless expats that have either visited Chile or lived here and they said “I wish I got out more into Chile’s nature….I just didn’t know how to do it!”. And it is true. It is not always the easiest figuring out the logistics of where and when you can camp, how to rent a tent, rules of starting camp fires, safe areas to sleep outside, etc. So having a race like this that worries about all of those factors for you really gives you no excuse! There is so much Chile offers in the outdoor scene; that it would be a shame to leave this country and not fully experience it in a “grassroots” style!
Trail Running across the entire width of Chile allows you to experience a variety of landscapes, from the Andes Mountains, the Central Valley, the Coast Range to the Pacific Ocean that you could not otherwise do in a bus. So if you’re looking to experience Chile in a whole new way, check out the Zolkan 4 Days website!
Ultra Mel and Jon
Check out other ultra marathons we have raced in over the years