When I took off to Peru for the 2022 Sacred Valley Aire Libre experience, I was obviously incredibly excited to discover the wonderful trails, scenery and history so deeply engrained within the mountains of this beautiful country. I was mostly excited about being in this country I had never been in, and grateful to be professionally guided through this country which holds so many wonders.
But as soon as I got connected with the rest of the Aire libre group, a whole other level of excitement showed up. Here we found ourselves, individuals of all ages and from all over the world, ready to discover Peru through the lens of a runner. It was an instant connection.
During our welcome dinner, our fabulous guides Eme and Yannick set the tone for the retreat, with one very simple instruction: to release our inner child, which I think everyone executed to perfection, and added so much to the trip, which was a trip about so much more than just running.
We explored the city of Cusco and all its cultural heritage before heading out to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, where we stayed in an absolutely wonderful home in the middle of the city of Urumbamba. The landscape was breathtaking, and the vibes were impeccable.
During our time in the Sacred Valley, we ran through the spectacular Moray Ruins, the Maras Salt Mines and through numerous Inca trails such as Lares and Cachi Cata. Pinpointting a single favorite particular one, is close to impossible, because every single one of them had its own particular feel. One thing is for sure, the group got closer and tighter with every single one of the outings.
It is one thing to explore the world, but it is a completely other even more wonderful thing to explore the world surrounded with like-minded individuals, with whom the stoke levels grew exponential. Everyday, the entire group went out ready to explore the world and learn more about our surroundings and its history. Our local guide Yannick made the journey so enjoyable for everyone, sharing nibbles of information throughout the entire retreat, and making sure the distance covered was satisfactory for all. Our runs were always accompanied by some detailed description of the area, its heritage and more. Our days also included some meditative aspects which kept the entire group grounded, and focused, even with all the fun going around.
I sincerely believe these meditative aspects (yoga, meditation, ceremonies, etc.) brought intention for everyone’s presence at the experience and re-emphasized the importance of living in the moment and soaking it all in, which you unequivocally want to be doing, when you are in the Sacred Valley of the Inkas.
The days were also always followed with the most exquisite meals and local drinks, which made the entire experience even that much more culturally involved.
The wholeness of this experience was truly remarkable and an experience of a lifetime. It’s truly important to disconnect from our lives every once in a while, and submerge yourself in a completely different scenario.
And it is even better to do so, when you don’t have to think about anything else than enjoying the entire experience, which was absolutely provided by the entire Aire Libre team. Thank you for allowing me to continue to discover the world through running.
Marianne Hogan is a highly energetic, and enthusiastic ultra trail runner and ciele ambassador. She grew up with a passion to swim, bike and run and eventually fell more deeply in love with trail running and joined the Salomon running team which she continues to enjoy today. In November 2021, she took home second place at the Ultra-Trail-Cape-Town 110K crossing the line in 12:15:13 behind two-time UTMB winner Courtney Dauwalter.
Through her journey as a trail runner, she also became a guide for a blind para-triathlete and together, they finished 5th at the 2021 Tokyo Paralympics. In January 2022, Marianne Hogan was the first female finisher at the Bandera 100K, which comes with a Golden Ticket to the Western States Endurance Run in June. Marianne loves nothing more than being a part of the trail community and spending especially long days in the mountains making new friends and discovering new places.
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