What is the event?
Running Up For Air is an endurance challenge, involving running up and down a mountain for 3, 6, 12 or 24 hours. In May 2019, the first European edition took place in Chamonix, France. And on 31st July 2021, we are bringing Running Up For Air to you, wherever you run vert – over hills, through the mountains or even up and down the stairs.
We run to raise awareness of air pollution. Today, across Europe, we are all breathing in toxic air. It damages our health and the environment around us. As trail runners we feel this and for communities living in busy cities, exposure to air pollution is a critical issue.
Running Up For Air 2021 will connect runners across Europe to raise funds for 18 environmental groups fighting for clean air.
So whether you are logging your vert on alpine trails, or lapping the hill in your local park, every vertical metre counts. A full 24-hour grind or a relaxed three hours at a comfy pace, pack the gels or the beers, grab some friends and join us for one uplifting day – experienced your way.
Four facts on air quality
Over 390,000 people die prematurely due to air pollution, every year, in Europe. Children, asthmatics, the elderly and those from some racial and ethnic groups are among the worst affected.
As we run, we breathe in and out more deeply. This can mean we are taking in more air pollution particulates than when we’re breathing normally – on an intense session this can be as much as 10 times as many toxic particles.
9 in every 10 people living in European cities are breathing in dangerous air caused by issues such as the burning of fossil fuels and biomass, industrial processes and increasing levels of traffic.
Air pollution doesn’t just damage our health and shorten our lives, it harms the ecosystems around us too. In Europe, most agricultural crops are exposed to ozone levels that exceed what the EU deems safe for vegetation protection.
The European capital of trail running, Chamonix’s pristine alpine surroundings are marred by increasing air pollution. This is caused by the heavy traffic that chugs constantly through the Tunnel du Mont Blanc.
Patagonia ambassador Clare Gallagher:
“Running in Chamonix, I learned from locals about the cloud of air pollution that hangs over the valley on smoggier days. I could feel how similar Chamonix air pollution is to that of Salt Lake City. No matter where we live, taking a day to run, think and do something about air pollution is worthwhile.”
Environmental group Inspire is working to improve air quality in Chamonix Valley.
London features canal paths, pavements, parks and wild places to train in, when we can’t make it to that remote ridgeline. But London also holds the record of having the highest health costs from air pollution of any European city. In fact, millions of Londoners live in areas that exceed legal air limits – meaning they are toxic to health.
Patagonia ambassador Martin Johnson:"As a trail runner and ultra-runner, there are few things I love more than running in nature and experiencing the joy of breathing in fresh air. However, the reality of being a father of two, living and working in London, means opportunities to escape to the countryside, the mountains and the clean air they offer are often limited. As a result, I spend more time than I'd choose clocking-up daily miles running through the streets of the capital - and some of the poorest quality air in Europe - in training and on my way to and from work.”
Environmental groups ClientEarth and Friends of the Earth are fighting air pollution in London and across the UK.
InnsbruckWhile air pollution is not a major problem in Innsbruck, it is still the cause of premature death for thousands of people in Austria, every year.
Patagonia ambassador Thomas Bohne:“I’m very lucky that my home trails are in and around Innsbruck. Air quality here is great, and when I’m running, I don’t need to worry about what I’m breathing in. You could even buy bottles of compressed Alpine Air at the Innsbruck airport duty-free. But I’ve run all over the world and have also experienced first-hand the effects of toxic air. There are places where I simply wouldn’t choose to run anymore as air pollution is a great danger to my health. Clean air should be a basic human right. However, for millions of people around the world, it is far from guaranteed.”
Global movement Fridays for Future is inspiring millions of people to take action on the climate crisis.
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