At the beginning of February, the first edition of Patagonia Trail Race took place in Argentina.

The race, which was organized by director Christophe Le Saux, was based out of a mountaineering village called El Chalten. Forty-two runners made the trip to the southern tip of Argentina, and for many of them, it was their first time visiting Patagonia.

The town of El Chalten is nestled within the national park, but the race itself took place entirely on grounds outside the park, as it was not permitted to run on the official hiking trails (due to erosion.) This called for some improvisation, but led nonetheless to a week of exploration–and arguably, a veritable adventure–in Patagonia.

Two of the region's most famous peaks, Cerro Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, pierce a clear, windy sky over El Chalten.
Runners gather at the start line of their first day out, which took them on a hike to a glacial mountain lake called "Laguna de los Tres."
The race's first stage took runners through farmlands near El Chalten. "This is a place where everything looks peaceful," said one runner of the Patagonian landscape. "It looks like time is paused."
Pascale Tschirhart runs along Rio de Las Vueltas, the "River of Turns," during the race's final day. One of the most remarkable things about running in Patagonia is the amount of water necessary for runners to carry with them: very frequently, it's possible to run with none. The water in the region's rivers and glacial lakes is clean, clear, and potable--and it's possible to find a water source nearly every 1-3 kilometers.
The trails around El Chalten include a variety of landscapes. From sharp mountain peaks to still, moss-filled forests, the region offers a spread of incredible views and locations.
Each night, the group ate dinner together in a local restaurant called Patagonia Rebelde. Traditional dishes--such as empanadas, humita (a corn-based stew,) and fresh trout--made up the week's menu.
A runner summits one of many small climbs surrounding Lago del Desierto, or "Desert Lake." During this stage, runners had to carry their passports, since they crossed the border to Chile before heading back into Argentina.
A gaucho sells coffee and local beer to runners after their day running along Lago del Desierto.
A wandering sheep eats a berry called calafate. The berry, which is native to Patagonia, is packed with antioxidants and can be found almost everywhere throughout El Chalten.
A runner returns to Argentina after having crossed the border to Chile during the day's run.
"When I was young, I had dreams…dreams about amazing countries and wonderful landscapes, about places that seemed unreal because they were so wild. Patagonia was one of these places in my mind as a child," said runner Nico Fouilleul. "For me, this trip brought me back to myself and into the wild. It was essential, a breath of oxygen in my life."