When a large chunk of Europe spends a lot of winter under ice and snow, traditional running becomes a tad difficult.

 

Enter the ski marathon. Cross-country skiing is very popular this time of year in the northern hemisphere. The Gsieser Tal Lauf is a much loved ski marathon held in Gsiesertal, in the holiday destination of Plan de Corones, Italy.

 

Since it began in 1984, the event has never been cancelled - not even in 2015, the very first year in which it did not snow. Then the race still went ahead, thanks to perfect artificial snow.

Featuring a magnificent mountain backdrop, the event is held on the third weekend of February and attracts around 2300 participants each year.

 

The race runs along two routes: 30km and 42km. Saturday’s events are in the classic style, while Sunday will see them competing in the skating style. The Mini-Gsieser for kids will also take place on Saturday.

 

For those just beginning the sport there is a "Just for Fun" group where you can test yourself in either snowshoes or cross-country skis.

http://www.valcasies.com

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It’s been a few years since the Hamilton Half Marathon course followed the Waikato River but that changes this year thanks to the Te Awa Trail.

 

Part of the 70km cycle trail along New Zealand’s longest river will feature in the new flatter and faster half marathon route. Runners this year will head north towards Horotiu, cross the river and follow the trail back to the Start/Finish in Flagstaff.

 

Organisers have also changed the 10km route to take in Hamilton’s newer northern suburbs, while the 5km route is flatter and easier through Braithwaite Park. Kids can once again look forward to the Commando Challenge obstacle race for 5-12 year olds.

 

Entries opened in January and organisers hope the early bird fee will encourage runners to commit, with most of the year to train. All finishers earn a medal.

This year the event has teamed up with Achilles New Zealand Hamilton chapter. The organisation allows people with disabilities to participate in mainstream events with able-bodied athletes.

www.hamiltonhalfmarathon.org.nz

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