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RUN TO MACHU PICCHU
The trip: Now this is what we call getting off the treadmill. It took American historian Hiram Bingham years to discover the lost Incan city of Machu Picchu, but now runners can dash up to the sacred archaeological sight in just a couple of days. On a ten-day "running adventure" from Andes Adventures, Brooks-shod pilgrims warm up with runs of 4.5 to 6.5 miles around Cuzco, Peru, and a river-rafting trip on the Urubamba River. The run up the Inca Trail itself is 27 miles, split by a night camping in the cloud-strewn town of Phuyupatamarca. Aid stations help take runners' minds off the miles, as do the views of glaciated peaks and orchid-thick forests. After the final awestruck stumble into Machu Picchu, guests have two full days to explore the ruins with such comforts as thermal baths at Aguas Calientes and soft beds at the Machu Picchu Inn Hotel. But nothing beats the feeling of having smoked every other person aiming to reach the Lost City.
Why go? The ultimate runner's high: You'll run at altitudes from 8,000 to 13,779 feet. And what a way to arrive at this newly named Wonder of the World!
What to pack: An iPod Nanonot for the way up, but for the train ride back down. (Your knees will be happy about that train.)
Difficulty: 9 out of 10. Participants are expected to comfortably cover 10 to 15 miles at a time on rolling terrain at very high altitude.
Your guides: Andes Adventures, running since 1995. The company also has one of the now restricted and much-coveted permits to travel along the Inca Trail.
Tel: 310 395 5265
Ten-day trip, including hotels, two nights camping, and all meals, $2,250 per person