Lace up your itchy feet and run around these 10 islands

2018-09-20 06:30
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beach run

Lace up your itchy feet and run around one of these 10 stunning islands. (Photo: iStock)

With #FITSPIRATIONS and Fitstagrams being all the rage and the use of the #runitfast hashtag hitting 1.2 million posts on Instagram, what better way to embrace and celebrate all things fitness by having a fit and fun island experience?

Since the UK's National Fitness Day is set to take place on Wednesday, 26 September, fitness expert Erny Peibst has picked out 10 of the most stunning island destinations and mapped out running routes for all levels on some roads less travelled.

This offers the perfect combination for those who want to keep fit, but also kick back and enjoy some pretty dramatic scenery and culture on the way around.

But whatever you do, don’t forget to stop to soak up the incredible views and salty tropical air and snap a compulsory selfie - because, pics-or-it-didn't-happen, after all, it's all #forthegram.

TRAVEL PLANNING: Last-minute Mauritius: Take a little island break before the end-of-year madness 

1.KAUAI, Hawaii

This slice of tropical heaven is known as the 'Garden Island' - courtesy of its lush vegetation and steady rainfall. It also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Hawaii.

From gram-envy fuelling scenery to supple shores, Kauai has everything you could ever want for your running vacay.

Kauai island run map

(Screenshot: Supplied)

The route mapped out above is one of the most scenic runs on the island, which spans about 6.5 km of coastal track from Wailua to Kealia. This part of the Island has been aptly dubbed the 'Coconut Coast' for the scores of coconut trees that blanket the landscape.

The path, identified by its flat, red clay, stretches along rocky coastal cliffs offering you breathtaking views as you're flanked by the Pacific on one side and the island's vegetation on the other. You might even catch a glimpse of dolphins or whales in the waters below during your leisurely trek along the track.


2. Réunion, near Madagascar

RĂ©union island run map

(Screenshot: Supplied) 

CHECK OUT THIS Quick Guide to Reunion: Visa-free travel for South Africans 

Réunion is an island for thrill-seekers and adventure junkies. It houses a range of truly untouched wilderness: from ridged mountains, craters, canyons to even an active volcano! These birth a ton of exciting trails you can explore across the Island.

The route mapped out above starts in Piton Sainte-Rose, which is a small island village with mystical views of the Indian ocean. The run is about 11 km from which you can expect to experience beautiful coastal views and then loop into the thick of the dense island vegetation.

About three-quarters of the way around the route, you will find yourself lucky as you stumble across an unexpected treasure in the form of the Anse Waterfalls.

The sound of water spraying from the trail will set the tone to the soundtrack of your run, culminating a tranquil experience. All it takes is a short jog up the signposted track to fully absorb the splendour of this natural wonder.

Standing at an impressive 15 m high, it is hugged by a crystal clear pool at its base. This waterfall is the ideal spot to take a rest during your run and enjoy the wonders of Réunion.

READ: Strengthened ties and laces as SA's slave race inspires Reunion Island 

3. Easter Island, Chile

easter island run map

(Screenshot: Supplied) 

For most visitors to Easter Island, The Moai, 288 iconic stone statues that punctuate the shore are the main drawing factor. 

The first statues are said to have been built 900 years ago in honour of the first arrivals to the island. Some of the statues weigh up to 82 tons (or nearly 74 400 kg) and stand at about 9 m tall, and they have various theories and tales on just how they were moved into place.

The trail mapped out above will ensure you get to see the stunning views of both the main Moai site and the Ahu Tongariki (15 of Easter Island's legendary Moai lined up further up the coast).

Early risers and runners are in luck - the Ahu Tongariki boast one of the most beautiful sunrise views in the world. So, perhaps switch up your route to start there to catch the early morning sunrise and run the trail backwards as the sun winds it way up the horizon.   

CHECK OUT THIS Quick Guide to Chile: Visa-free travel for South Africans 

4. Barbados, Caribbean

barbados island run map

(Screenshot: Supplied) 

Barbados's shores are coated with an expanse of supple and powder-like soft white sand beaches, making it a paradise getaway for many holidaymakers.

Lace up for a run starting down in Enterprise Beach and follow the coast along until you reach Bridgetown. A fair warning: your best bet would be sticking to the sidewalk that stretches the duration of the route should you not wish to sink with every step in the sand. 

You will pass by about 8 km of pristine beaches, zipping through elite resorts - and, if you're lucky, you might even catch sight of the odd celebrity taking a beach stroll.

If you're seeking the solace and seclusion of quiet or deserted beaches, you might one to swing by during the offseason. Peak season tends to be quite packed, so be aware that you may want to get up extra early for your run or relaxation to avoid the hoards and crowds of tourists.

SEE: Caribbean islands you can visit 

5.  Harbour Island, The Bahamas

harbour island run map

(Screenshot: Supplied) 

If you can't beat them join them - especially if 'they' are the people with the envy-worthy travel pics of pink sand beaches.

Head on over to the lovely Harbour Island and harbour no regrets about the flurry of some of the world's best pink sand beaches that grace its coast to see and snap. 

Trek along and complete the entire length of the Island, which spans just abour 4.8 km - be sure to take in the incredible views of the Atlantic ocean as you run and kick up some dust along the pale pink sand.

The pink is more prominent at the water's edge where the sand is wet and compacted, if you're looking for some really intense #gram pics.

Another perk is that unlike other pink beaches in the world, the sand here is always a cool temperature - which means you can go caveman (or cavewoman) running sans shoes if you’re up for it.

CHECK OUT: Island Fun: Mauritius voted into the top 15 islands around the world 

6. Grace Bay in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos

Grace Bay island run map

(Screenshot: Supplied) 

Run through one of the most exquisite islands in the Caribbean. Turks and Caicos is home to some of the clearest waters and softest white sand beaches you're ever likely to find - and Grace Bay is its crown jewel.

Grace Bay has earned its title as one of the most breathtaking destinations in the globe. With its protected reefs, just about 1.6 km offshore, and its beach always in pristine condition (no rocks, seaweed or pollution in sight), it's not hard to see why.

Follow the route from the golf club along about 3 km of seafront where you can take in magical ocean views. The Island is still relatively unknown and quite remote so it won't be chock-full with tourists as you tread along the beach - especially if you opt for an early morning session.

ALSO WATCH: Explore the Burano and Murano islands along Italy's Venetian Lagoon 

7. Palaui, Philippines

Palaui island run map

(Screenshot: Supplied) 

The Philippines branches off plenty with its over 7 000 islands! Some of the more remote islands can take days of boat rides to reach alone. But not Palaui, which is located on the northeast tip of Luzon - the Island that is home to the nation's capital.

Here you can be shore to hitch a lift on one of the regular buses and trains that trek to this scenic island.

The island is small but is home to an almost 10 km trail called The Lagunza Trail, which is a moderately difficult trail with steep climbs up and down mountain peaks - but the views make it all well worth the burn you will definitely feel by the end of it.

The trail has so much to offer - from delicate white sand beaches, hidden waterfalls, lush vegetation to cliff top views of the Philippine Sea - what more could you want?

ALSO READ: Philippines: It's time to break the mould on tropical island escapes 

8. Lake Toba, Sumatra, Indonesia

Lake Toba island run map

(Screenshot: Supplied) 

Lake Toba is one of the most breathtaking locations in all of Indonesia, and it’s well off the beaten and bruised tourist track, so if you're looking for a secluded and niche remote location - this is your ideal port of call option. 

The route which stretches a lengthy amount of about 37 km - it is no easy run or small feat to undertake, and at certain points, there are dramatic climbs up the coastal hills. And, depending on how experienced of a runner you are this could take you from anywhere between 3 - 4 hours... but fret not, there are plenty of spectacular viewpoints to keep you going and to offer some sweet snap-worthy distraction for rest stops.

The enormous crater lake has an island in the centre that is almost the size of Singapore! The route mapped out above takes you along the north edge of this island, giving you the perfect path to absorb the pristine surroundings. 

At 900 m above sea level, the climate around the lake is much more accommodating to runners than other parts of Indonesia. You will be grateful for the break from the humidity and the ability to breathe in the fresh lake air as you progress through the volcanic peaks on this almost mythical island.

CHECK OUT THIS Quick guide to Indonesia: Visa-free travel for South Africans 

9. Sun Moon Lake, Taiwan

Sun Moon Lake island run map

(Screenshot: Supplied) 

At about 27 km, with some tricky ground and steep uphill and downhill climbs, this is a difficult route to take for even the most experienced runner - but it’s also the perfect place to test your running ability.

Nestled in the mountains just outside of Taichung, in the centre of the Island of Taiwan, and a popular tourist attraction, the route is easy to reach by car or train from the capital of Taipei. 

As you tread around the lake, you can be sure to soak up the stunning views of its crystal-like waters, set against a picturesque mountain backdrop.

On the shores of the lake, there are some gorgeous locations where you can stop to rest such as: Wenwu Temple - an enormous Buddhist temple on the North Shore, or Ita Thao - a village of Thao aboriginals.

 ICYMI: The specialities of Taiwan 

10. Santorini, Greece

Santorini island run map

(Screenshot: Supplied) 

If you're looking for an island with a little more blast and bite, this tiny volcanic Island located in the Aegean sea offers a number of epic runs with some pretty explosive coastal views as well!

One of the longer trails on the island goes from Oia to Fira. This route is a gradual climb the whole way there but should not take more than an hour to complete. If you're keen for a longer run, you can always enjoy the same stunning views on your way back and double up the route.

The route snakes along a volcanic ridge that is one of the defining characteristics of the island. It features a steep drop, looking out to the bright blue ocean on one side.

The track is easy enough to find and is clad mainly cobblestone paths and dirt roads the whole way along, making it simple enough for even the most novice runner with feet itching to give it a go.

ALSO SEE: It's all Greek to me: Explore the wonders of Corfu

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