In the winter, the world-famous Dolomites are known for extraordinary skiing. But in the summer months another sport with poles takes over – trail running, of course.
The mountain range in northeastern Italy is home to the Dolomiti Extreme Trail (DXT), a three-distance trail race (there is also a kids race) held within the confines of the UNESCO world heritage site. Depending on your trail running experience, distances at the DXT include 103K, 53K and 23K.
As the races are held in the northern Italian Alps, don’t worry, the race is plenty challenging, both because of its elevation profile as well as its altitude. In the 103K, runners must conquer 7,150m of elevation gain and loss. In the 53K, there is 3,800m of elevation gain. New for 2018 is slight extensions of time cut-offs for both the ultramarathons including 29 hours for the longer of the two ultras and 13.5 hours for the 53K.
The 23K, which starts on the Sunday of race weekend, a day after the 53K and 103K go off on Saturday morning, is also new for 2018. The ultras notably pass by the foot of Mount Pelmo, which stands at 3,168m, and is one of the most notable peaks in the Dolomites. (Interestingly, the 23K has a more than 50 per cent reduced entry fee, $37 (25 Euro), if you choose not to receive a finisher’s prize, if you’re not into that sort of thing.) The finisher’s prize can be put to good use too. For finishing, runners receive a pair of Haglofs (Swedish company) trail shoes.
The race begins from Val di Zoldo, within the province of Belluno, an approximately 90-minute drive north of airports in Venice and Treviso. Note that if you’re travelling with family, and have children, there is a daycare in town, organized via the race.
The sixth-annual DXT goes off June 9-10, 2018. If you’re looking for a race eligible for UTMB-qualifying, the 103K is a five-point distance and the 53K is worth four points. To be eligible to register for the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, one must have 15 points or more from three races so DXT could put a third of your way to that goal.
A reduced registration fee is available until Jan. 31, 2018. The 53K costs $142 (95 Euro) and the 103K costs $218 (145 Euro) until the end of January 2018.
Now, take a moment to look at the photos.