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Q&A: Kim Stark on running marathons in Patagonia and Easter Island

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Kim Stark,

Patagonia and Easter Island marathons

Adventure traveller Kim Stark has moved one step closed to achieving her dream of running a marathon on every continent after her recent South America tour with Andean Trails.

Kim mixed sightseeing with long distance running while in Paine, Atacama, Bolivia and Easter Island.

Kim sends this Q&A field report from her recent runs – which leaves here with just an Oceania marathon to go…

 

Not just one…

I actually did two marathons! One was UTTP – Ultra Trail Torres del Paine, the other was the Rapa Nui 42k on Easter Island.

UTTP was the motivation for going to Patagonia. The race was great. Well organized, different then home, but that’s the point! Beautiful scenery.

Interestingly we ran through some farm fields and had to go through and over fences – wood ones and barbed wire ones, there were 4 stream/creek crossings, a couple quite deep.

 

grey-beach-chile

Grey beach, Patagonia, Chile

 

After the race, how was the eco-camp?

We stayed in the Paine W eco-camp after the race, it was awesome, can’t say enough good about this place. Staff very accommodating and kind, food fantastic and again accommodating as I am vegetarian and there were huge amounts of it too

 

How different was Atacama, after Patagonia? Highlight?

Atacama is the polar opposite and beautiful in it’s own way. Amazing night sky and the desert is fantastic, loved sand boarding and the cacti. San Pedro is a super cute little town, very chilled and laid back. Nice place to regroup and have some time.

 

Which was harder – the race, or moving around at high altitude in Bolivia? Any similarities?

I live in the Rocky Mountains in Canada so the terrain of UTTP is what I run all the time and as a bonus it’s at sea level, I live at 1100m.

The high altitude in Bolivia wasn’t an issue for moving around, to be honest I only felt it the first night while lying in bed, chest felt heavy – of course I am asthmatic so that could be part of it – lol!

Loved La Paz by the way. What a vibrant city. Super interesting culture.

 

The Easter Island run, how was that?

It was an adventure. I foolishly thought it was a flat island, its not there are some good-sized hills.

Also, the trail is not flagged or marked, all I got was a map and instructions in Spanish – I don’t speak Spanish….. Anyway, made it interesting having the route finding element added to the race.

Let’s just say it was a good thing the locals are so friendly and helped me get back on track when I got a little lost. Very interesting island, worth the 5.5 hour flight from Santiago – you really are in the middle of nowhere and the Moai are fascinating.

Ranu Raraku Easter Island

Ranu Raraku Easter Island

 

What’s your favourite overall memory, and why?

I would say Atacama to Uyuni.

It’s just so different from where I am from and the salt flats had been on my bucket list for a long time. I really enjoyed the warm sun, dessert, and the otherworldliness of the salt flats.

Very close second is La Paz – again, different, colourful, superstitious, lively.

 

optical-illusion-uyuni-bolivia

Uyuni, Bolivia

 

How was your experience with Andean Trails?

Everything went like clock work and was of an excellent level, super impressed.

It was great staying in smaller, non-chain places and ones that had sustainability as part of their selling point.

“Thanks again, it really was wonderful.”

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