Italy’s glorious Dolomites, are a vision to be savoured and respected. It’s fairly impossible to cast your gaze onto these spectacular mountains without in some way being humbled.
If you’ve been lucky enough to run on one of the trails that weave their way between the spires and pinnacles of white craggy rock, you may have had the urge to slow down and stop just to take a moment or several – to contemplate such beauty.
There’s something about the Dolomites, that manages to really get to you, to tap into even the most seasoned traveller, or trail runner, or to those that strive to keep emotions at bay, because these big, towering, powerful mountains, somehow manage to talk directly to your soul.
If you want to know more about this part of Italy, read our introductory guide to the Dolomites
Trail running in the Dolomites, is akin to rejoicing in life itself!
There are many trail races that take place all over the 9 mountain systems that make up the Dolomites. Like the highly popular The North Face® Lavaredo Ultra Trail and the Dolomiti Extreme Trail. However there are many more too. From short sky races to the longer.
We’ve come up with some fantastic trail races that take place in the Italian Dolomites, that are perhaps less know abroad.
All have websites in English.
TRAIL DELLE ORCHIDEE – July
An incredible Alpine route that traces around Lake Sauris in the northern region of Fruili Venezia Giulia. The Orchid Trail, as the Trail delle Orchidee translates into, runs through green fields, pine forests and ancient mountain paths and gets its name from the wild orchids that grow along the race route.
When: 28, 29 July 2018
Where: Passo Pura – Udine (UD), Friuli – Venezia Giulia – Italy
Distance / elevation gain: 46km / 3000m D+
Other distances: 22k / 1650m D+
- Spectacular Alpine environment
- Technical course
- Fly to Treviso or Trieste
- The Trail delle Orchidee starts and finishes at Passo Pura, a good point to relax on one of the many footpaths that from this point lead up towards the Carniche Dolomites Park and around the lake of Sauris.
- Visit the stunning gorges in the Lumiei Valley.
ROSENGARTEN SCHLERN SKYMARATHON – July
The Rosengarten Schlern Sky Marathon, takes place in the heart of one of the most breathtaking parts of the Dolomites: the majestic Catinaccio. This event will have you running from the green pastures at the start up to an altitude of 2600 mt.
When: 7 July 2018
Where: Tires – Bolzano (BZ), Trentino – Alto Adige – Italy
Distance / elevation gain: 45km /2980m D+
Other distances: 36km / 1908m D+ and 16km / 575m D+
- Run in the heart of Dolomites
- Technical tracks
- Nearest airports: Fly to Verona
- Explore the Natural Park of Sciliar and Catinaccio.
- Discover the charming city of Bolzano, rich in history and tyrolese culture and traditions.
BRESSANONE DOLOMITI MARATHON – July
This is something different! Mixed terrain and all uphill. The Brixen Dolomites Marathon attracts a field of strong mountain runners. A fantastic setting that will have you running up Mount Plose – If you love uphill running this race is for you.
When: 7 July 2018
Where: Bressanone (BZ), Trentino-Alto Adige – Italy
Distance / elevation gain: 42k/2450m D+
Relay 4 x 4 (11 km/8 km/14,5 km/8,5 km)
Relay 2 x 2 (19 km/23 km)
- Challenge yourself to an uphill marathon!
- Divide the suffering between friends – in a 4×4 really team
- Incredible location
- Nearest airports: Fly to Innsbruck, Verona or Venice
- Discover the engaging town of Brixen – Bressanone and enjoy some traditional mountain culture in Italy’s South Tyrol
- Rent a bike and take a ride along one of South Tyrol’s cycle paths. When you get tired, just drop off the bike in one of the many Bike-Points and get the train! Lovely.
DELICIOUS TRAIL DOLOMITI – September
Sports, cultural and food related events will all be part of the fun over the weekend of 22 – 24th September in Cortina d’Ampezzo, when the Dolomites Delicious Festival will take place in the stunning Dolomites. The Delicious Trail Dolomiti is a non-competitive trail event.
When: 22-23 September 2018
Where: Pocol, Cortina D’Ampezzo, Belluno (BL), Veneto – Italy
Distance / elevation gain: 37km / 2550m D+
Other distances: 21k/1400m D+ and Kids Trail
- A trail and foodie festival
- Good introductory distance to the Dolomites
- test yourself at altitude
- Nearest airports: Fly to Verona, Venice, Treviso, Trieste
- Relax along the trails, take the chance to take some pics of the stunning surroundings.
MISURINA SKYMARATHON – September
Three distances for this weekend of Trail Running events on the Three Cime di Lavaredo.
When: 9 September 2018
Where: Misurina, Auronzo (BL), Veneto – Italy
Distance / elevation gain: 42km / 3000m D+
Other distances: Cadini Skyrace 20km / 1600m D+
- Spectacular surroundings
- Special room and hotel rates available for runners
- Nearest airports: Fly to Treviso and Venice
- Get back onto those Trails, and explore this amazing area at a more relaxed pace!UNESCO World Heritage Site – the 3 Cime di Lavaredo in the Dolomites are located in stunning surroundings, considered by many to offer the most picturesque views in the whole of Italy.
- For ideas about what to do and where to stay see the official website
DOLOMITI DI BRENTA TRAIL – September
The Dolomiti Brenta Trail race takes place in the “Adamello Brenta Park”. It will have you running at high altitude with most of the race course over 2000m – the highest point being at the 48th km at the Bocca di Brenta 2552m. The Adamello Brenta Nature Park is located in the western part of Trentino, in one of the most popular parts of the Dolomites, and includes both the Adamello and Brenta mountain ranges.
When: 8 September 2018
Where: Molveno (TN), Trentino-South Tyrol – Italy
Distance / elevation gain: 64k / 4200m
Other distances: 45k/2850m
- Spectacular surroundings
- Good place to chill after race
- Nearest airports: Fly to Verona, Bologna or Milan
- Discover the Adamello Brenta Park and learn about the wild animals that live there: bears, chamois, alpine ibex, roe deer, deer, groundhogs, squirrel, foxes, eagles, capercaillie and black grouse.
- Walk along Alpine pastures and relax with a slice of cake in an Alpine Hut!
- Relax by Lake Molveno, and if you still have some energy… then take part in one the water and land activities on offer! Play tennis, rent a boat, go canoeing, swim in the Olympic swimming pool or do some recovery running along the lake shores. Discover what’s right for you, HERE
Maria Elisabetta Bellini is Italyontrail.com’s founder, born in the U.K, she came to running whilst living in Italy, where she still lives and trains. Never ceasing to marvel at what’s at the summit of a hill, or around the bend along the trail, she loves using trail running as a means to explore nature, contemplation and Italy.