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Doug Mayer

Why I run

I run for fitness, I run for the sense of peace it brings to an ever-busy brain, I run for the creativity that always seems to show up en route, but mostly I run for the sense of adventure and play that comes with being in wild places. Through trail running, I have explored the wilds of the US and roamed throughout the Alps. I’m  equally happy running from my back door in Chamonix, France, as I am exploring far-flung ranges.

My favorite place to run

It’s right outside my door! I run through the centuries-old hamlet of Montroc, then up to the Le Tour glacier at the high end of the Chamonix valley. The vert ends after 1,300 meters, at the French Alpine Club’s Refuge Albert Premier, where I always refuel with blueberry tart and cafe au lait. From there, my dog and I run the high balcony trail to Refuge du Col de Balme, on the Tour du Mont-Blanc, then coast over an alpine ridge and back home. There’s glaciers, sky-running terrain, high pastures dotted with cows, and desserts en route. I just might be the luckiest trail runner in the world.

What I hope to convey with my writing

Beyond the stats, beyond the list of top-10 core exercises I am avoiding, well past the horse race of who’s up and who’s down, I think there’s a place we all seek— the core emotional values of trail running that connect us to a sport and lifestyle we love. I like exploring this space, and sharing the very human stories that emerge when we go there. I like finding and sharing stories that reveal something about our true nature. In doing so, I think these stories bring us closer as a trail running community.

More about Doug

In hyper-social Chamonix, I usually run just with my sidekick Izzy, a two-year old Labradoodle who is known locally in the valley as the Ambassador of Joy. Trail running is my down-time, my chance to recharge my brain as I simultaneously deplete energy stores elsewhere in my body.

Shameless self-promotion: I’m author of The Race that Changed Running: The Inside Story of UTMB and founder of the trail running tour company Run the Alps.

Recent posts by Doug Mayer

The First Running of Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. Part Two

Part 2: The story of the first edition of UTMB, Dawa Sherpa’s incredible finish, and the legacy that continues today.

The First Running of Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc

Part One: The story of the first edition of UTMB, Krissy Moehl, and the trail around Mont Blanc.

We Have Nothing, but We Have Everything

Katie Schide on life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.

Good Vibrations from Innsbruck, Austria

The 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships.

Walmsley on Snow

One of America’s best ultrarunners takes on the European ski-mountaineering scene.

Love Finds You

Worn thin by the Italian Alps, Doug Mayer stumbles into something unexpected.

Two generations around Mont Blanc

How a father’s journey around the iconic mountain changed his son’s trajectory.

Surviving Chamonix during UTMB

The Insider’s Guide to navigating the famed mountain town during the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc.

The courage to start

Doug Mayer ponders if perhaps getting to the start line isn’t the ultimate victory.