Photograph by Frank Huster, Aurora
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A runner traverses a mountain trail on Réunion Island.

Photograph by Frank Huster, Aurora

Run the Trails On Réunion Island

This remote destination is home to over 600 miles of trails.

Recommended by: Kilian Jornet Burgada, Ultrarunner and Ski Mountaineer

Jornet has traveled across the globe for races and trotted more trails than most of us will in a lifetime. In other words, he knows a thing or two about good running destinations. "Some of the places I've been for races are great spots for running," he says.

One of his most surprising suggestions is Réunion Island, a remote French isle located east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. He loves it "not only for its landscapes but also for the warmth of the people, the ambience, and the food.

"Conveniently, there is also an abundance of trails—about 600 miles worth, by some estimates—by which to access it all. Here, the scenery changes faster than a Twitter feed, offering runners an array of astounding landscapes to gaze at, from fields of lentils to cirques of high peaks, forests, and plains, all punctuated by views of a shimmering coastline.

Kilian Jornet Burgada might be superhuman. He has won more than 80 endurance races and blown away more than a dozen speed records, and is widely dubbed one of the world’s best endurance athletes. On foot, he has crossed the Pyrenees, traveled the length of Corsica’s famed G20 long-distance path, ascended and descended Kilimanjaro in one push, and trotted the entire Tahoe Rim Trail. On skis, he is no less formidable, winning the overall World Cup title in ski-mountaineering racing multiple times.