You would pay to take a walking tour of Santiago, a bike tour or even a tour on a bus. But would you pay to go for a run through Santiago? Rodrigo Valenzuela hopes your answer is “yes.”
Photo courtesy Chile Running Tours
Valenzuela is the co-creator of Chile Running Tours, a new company that plans to offer various running tour routes through Santiago. The company will be the only one of its kind in Chile and will join similar groups in Buenos Aires and Cusco as part of Global Running Tours, a worldwide organization of running tour companies.
“Co-creator Nicolás Fernández and I are both runners, and we thought that Santiago would be a good scene for this type of tour,” said Valenzuela.
Kirstin Gruver, a University of Washington student, visited Santiago in March. She said that the possibility of a running tour would “cater well to the outdoorsy folks who happen to be stopping in Santiago before going off to other places.”
She said that if she had had the chance, she would have gone on a running tour.
“A running tour is a great way to see the city,” she said. “You get a different perspective and all of it is on foot. Plus, it's completely sustainable.”
Michael Hogan agrees. Hogan is an exchange student from the University of Notre Dame at Santiago´s Universidad Católica where he studies economics and philosophy. He said that running is a good compromise between the restrictions of a walking tour and the impersonality of a bus tour.
He arrived in February and since then has spent a lot of his time running in Las Condes and La Reina.
“Running in Santiago has given me a better sense of orientation and a better appreciation for the ins and outs of the city,” said Hogan.
Chile Running Tours opened in May 2010, targeting business workers in Santiago who want to stick to their training routine and also want to see the city. Valenzuela said that they also cater to tourists who enjoy running or who want to try it out while seeing the city.
Right now, the group offers four routes that tour Parque Bicentenario, Cerro San Cristobal, Parque Araucano and the Pocuro-Tobalaba neighborhood. Clients can also customize their own route if they have a specific destination in mind and can even request to run more (or less) than the established six to 10 kilometers.
Francisco Berrios is one of Chile Running Tour´s guides, or coaches. He said that the guides will not only lead the run,
they will also provide information to tourists about Santiago´s history and the different sights that the route passes.
Chile Running Tours hopes to provide their clients with a comfortable experience so that they feel as if they are running with a friend and not just a guide.
The company currently offers tours in English and Spanish, however Valenzuela said that with more demand and more opportunities to hire guides, they will offer other languages.
Visit Chile Running Tours’ website at www.chilerunningtours.com for more information or to sign up for a tour. Tours cost USD $45 per person up to 10 kilometers (6.25 miles); prices increase for larger groups or for a tour longer than 10 kilometers.
Traveling outside of Chile and looking for a similar tour? Check out www.globalrunningtours.com.