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I belong here – I can fly here

Trailrunning Bernina

Trailrunning Bernina
Julia Bleasdale does not need wings to fly. When she runs through the picturesque Val Poschiavo, up to the Diavolezza or along the mirror-like Lake Sils, she feels as if she is running on clouds, as free and light as a bird. Even the 65 kilometres of the Bernina Tour around the Bernina massif are a run of pure joy for all the senses.

The trail runner Julia Bleasdale says the Alps are in her blood – literally. “My parents met at the summit of the Habicht in Austria, at 3,277 metres,” she says. Born in West London of a Bavarian mother and British father, she spent her holidays as a child skipping over lush alpine meadows, playing in glacial streams, scrambling up mountain peaks and hiking with her parents from one mountain refuge to the next.

Julia Bleasdale

Home is where the heart is

Hiking soon became running, and launching her career as a professional track runner seemed the logical next step. A good choice, as Julia’s track record shows: at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, she competed over distances of 5,000 and 10,000 metres and came eighth each time. An unforgettable experience – but in her heart she knew that track running held no deeper meaning for her, and no real goal. All her senses were calling her back to nature and on to the trails: to the Engadin!

Julia Bleasdale - Trailrunning Bernina
Julia Bleasdale - Trailrunning Bernina
Really, really perfect ...
Julia Bleasdale  - Trailrunning Bernina

Running to the rhythm of the seasons

The tremendous variety of terrain in the Engadin gives Julia fresh inspiration and new thrills every day. Nowhere else does she enjoy such endless opportunities to explore wild landscapes as she runs, to feel connected to nature, to give her spirit a “free run” and still challenge herself anew every day – and tune into her innermost self.

“Back to the roots” is a yearning for Julia in more ways than one. “This world is deeply rooted in my being,” she says. She feels the characteristic energy of nature – from the lakes, secluded valleys and ancient hamlets to the unrestrained beauty of the Swiss National Park and the legendary Bernina massif – every time she goes for a run. She enjoys the even routes along the lakes for a gentle recovery run as much as technically demanding sections – which offer the chance now and again to also do a little climbing or pause to watch chamois or whistling marmots. Plus she enjoys another precious bonus: experiencing the changing of the seasons, which give each trail four different faces – and which in winter open up a completely new trail spectrum in the snow.

«Running is like flying to me»

Julia’s favourite experiences in her new home extend beyond the trails: from dips in refreshing mountain lakes to trips to restaurants, where she finds she cannot resist the local specialities.

Julia Bleasdale  - Trailrunning Bernina
And when the British-born athlete relaxes on the restaurant terrace with a glass of Graubünden red wine and gazes out over the magnificent alpine views, she could not feel more at home.

Trail running shoes are the allrounder among the jogging shoes: lightweight and robust at the same time, some even equipped with waterproof outer material.
For Julia Beasdale, choosing the right shoes is the alpha and omega of trail running and swears by a Swiss manufacturer.

Next step: Pontresina running centre

When Julia Bleasdale arrived, news that a world-class trail runner had settled in Pontresina spread fast. She receives more and more enquiries from outdoor enthusiasts from all over the world. Where is the best running in the Engadin? Can I find a guide to accompany me on my trail runs? I’m a city kid and I need a beginner’s course in trail running. What’s the safest way to run downhill? All sufficient reason for Julia to develop plans for a running centre in her new home, Pontresina: initially as a virtual training centre, with the goal of opening physical premises in the medium term. The centre should be up and running from summer 2019 to give enthusiasts advice and support.

For further information on the Pontresina running centre, write to julia@runengadin.ch.

Julia Bleasdale  - Trailrunning Bernina

Trailrunning Bernina