The 2021 Races will be on Thursday 7/8/2021 at 4:00 AM for the full marathon and 0500 AM for the Incathon. These start times maximize the time you have to complete the race while minimizing the amount of time you must run before it is light out for safety reasons, and of course to better enjoy the amazing scenery.
Every runner in our races will finish right at Machu Picchu and complete the entire Inca Trail in the process.
To complete the race at Machu Picchu in one day and get down to town before bus services end, you must finish by 5:15 p.m. Machu Picchu does not allow entry past 5:15 p.m., nor are there anymore buses down to Aguas Calientes after 5:30 pm. **This is a regulation imposed by the government entity that administers and controls Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail (subject to change).
All people on the Inca Trail must adhere to this rule, no Inca Trail users or tourists are allowed to enter Machu Picchu at night.
We think so! Our staff will be out there to support, but it depends on you.
Things that will help you: If you are a good endurance athlete, a strong and/or experienced runner, avid marathoner, someone with good trail running knowledge, experience running ultras, other long course (ie Iron distance tri) background, a strong mountain hiking background. Having some of these traits will be helpful. In addition- If you train hard, safe and smart for this event, considering some of our training suggestions, then we feel you will accomplish this feat! The willingness to try it is the first step to the finish.
Your safety is our 1st concern for this event, please follow our guide and RD instructions.
It is not possible to participate in the races without camping out the night before near to the start line.
Start line: Faster runners should seed themselves to the front.
Official times will be recorded to gun time.
All Inca Trail runners will wear a numbered bib at all times (for tracking, splits, and safety reasons).
Packet pickup and a mandatory pre-race meeting will take place 2 days before the race.
It is not permitted to litter while running the Inca Trail. Please keep the trail clean and throw garbage away at aid stations.
A total of at least 4 aid stations will be available for the race. Purified water, and some snack foods such as dried fruit, mixed nuts, pretzels, small avocado and chicken sandwiches, cookies, chocolates, coca, etc will be provided at these checkpoints. You must pack your own nutrition and carry it with you the whole time if you want anything different than these types of items.
*Please note: Due to the distance (in some cases a couple of hours depending on your pace) between aid stations, you will be required to carry your own fluids and nutrition, and some emergency gear (i.e. in a day-pack) for your personal safety. You will have the opportunity to refill water/fluids at aid stations as needed.
*Aid station locations can be moved at the race director's discretion depending on race/trail conditions.
First aid will be available at all aid stations. English and Spanish speaking staff will be available with long range radio communication and satellite phones for emergencies.
Upon arrival at the aid stations, your bib number and in some cases your arrival/departure time will be recorded. We will provide you race splits from key points on the course.
All participants receive a custom tech Inca Trail Marathon race shirt, goodie bag, other items, and race medal.
You will also be given a custom logo Inca Trail Marathon drop bag by us to pack for this race. You may keep this after the event.
Official times will be recorded to gun time.
Detailed race splits are provided in the race results.
Runners in both trail race events will have the opportunity to reunite with spectators, head down to Aguas Calientes whenever you are ready, change/refresh at our host hotel, do some celebrating with the group, and relax in the evening.
The next day in the evening, all race participants (26.2 marathon and Incathon) and spectators can proceed to a special included group dinner in Aguas Calientes to celebrate!
Initial results and race awards will be presented at our very last group dinner back in Cusco on the last night of the trip along with live music and a folkloric dance show!
Although you should be prepared for a variety of weather conditions (i.e. wind, rain, heat, cold, fog, snow, hail, possible rapid changing conditions in the mountains), the typical weather conditions for July on the Inca Trail range from 80°F for the high and 32°F degrees for the low. Average rainfall is only about 3 days/month. Temperatures vary substantially with elevation changes.
For example, at Dead Woman’s Pass, you can expect approx. 40°F temperatures, while at Winay Wayna; you can expect daytime temperatures to reach approx. 75-80°F. Please plan accordingly and be properly prepared for any type of weather!
Your safety is our first priority. The following items are some of the gear you will want/be required to have- this list is not all-inclusive.
Due to the varied elevations and temperature changes you will experience while running on the Inca Trail, we suggest planning your running wardrobe accordingly. Drop bags will be made available at our second camp if you do not make the cutoff.
Your Original Passport
Daypack on trail with hydration bladder
Long sleeve/Windbreaker/Change of shirt/Rain poncho
Personal First Aid/ LED headlamp for racing before dawn and possibly at night
Personal Energy foods/fluids/Money for food or drink vendors and restrooms at Machu Picchu
Cutoff campsite drop bag (we provide this bag, you pre-pack this, and it is placed by us at the cut-off point):
Change of Clothes/Shoes
Personal Toiletries (rest rooms on-site)
Clothing for next day
Do you need assistance putting a training plan in place that meets your individual needs and will prepare you for the Inca Trail Marathon?
We offer comprehensive custom coaching and training plans from one of our certified coaches to help you prepare (extra charge, inquire for details).
While Inca trail conditions are generally good, it is a hard trail. Many steep trail sections require very careful footing. The trail is mostly Inca paved stone (irregular stones of all shapes, sizes, textures laid out in a 4-6 foot wide path). There are also some dirt sections and places where the trail surface is uneven and rocky. You will encounter steep stone steps and narrow passes with steep drop-offs to one side. The Inca trail is generally at least 4 feet wide. Conditions become slippery with rain and moisture, especially on the descents in the cloud forest, so please use caution.
The Inca Trail cannot be closed to other hikers, so you will encounter other hikers (and porters) while running on the Inca trail. It is easy to get around other runners and hikers, as there is ample width on the trail. Please be courteous and clearly announce that you are passing them, allowing them enough time to clear the path. This has never been any issue at all in our events and in fact the other groups are usually very encouraging as they become aware the race is going on. You may get cheered along by them, so its actually good fun interacting with some of the other groups and porters.
You are unlikely to encounter any hikers on the first and last legs of the race due to the time of day.
To insure you finish at Machu Picchu by 5:15 p.m., there will be a national park mandated mandatory cutoff prior to proceeding onto Machu Picchu towards the last part of the Inca Trail. This is normally 3:30 pm and set by the Peru government regulatory body that administers the Inca Trail operations.
**Please note: No tourists at all are allowed to proceed after these times or they will be arriving too late to Machu Picchu and it will be closed with no bus service to get down to the town.
It's definitely worth the wait because you will still finish the race at Machu Picchu (the next day) instead of an alternate finish that is not at Machu Picchu.
No matter what your race time, we strongly believe one of the best highlights of the Inca Trail Marathon is to finish right at Machu Picchu for that once in a lifetime spectacular photo finish and also to be able to complete the entire Inca Trail in the process.
So, if you miss the cutoff, you will spend the evening comfortably at our specially staffed 2nd campground. The next day you will finish the remainder of the Inca Trail and racecourse, passing through the sun gate and ending at Machu Picchu. You will be welcomed by our spectators and other runners who will be celebrating your accomplishment!
Do not despair for even a moment, because if the Official 26.2 mile race course was easy, we would not need a cutoff and everyone would be doing it!
During your stay, you will have access to some of your personal items (pre-packed by you in a provided drop bag and brought to the checkpoint by our staff- see below for suggested gear). You will have tented accommodation with a sleeping bag, and meals. Our support staff will also be onsite.
Note: 2-day finishers receive official finish times- published in all results online and elsewhere, and receive the same finisher medals, awards ceremony, etc.
This adventure marathon is designed by experienced runners especially for racers. All runners will finish at Machu Picchu in this race!
The route is professionally measured, well marked, and supported with at least 4 well stocked aid stations. Our custom designed marathon race course is longer than the one way distance of the Inca Trail. We have first-aid available at various locations and plenty of course marshals and race officials out on the race course.
This is one of the world's most difficult marathons! The course takes the typical hiker 3.5 days and ascends multiple mountain passes, reaching a max elevation of 13,800 feet. You will be treated to breathtaking views of the Andes Mountains, fascinating Inca ruins, thousands of feet of vertical change, steep ascents and descents, countless Inca steps, and a photo finish in front of Machu Picchu; one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.
According to various publications, The Inca Trail Marathon is the hardest marathon in the world! We like to say "A Marathon in Distance but an Ultra in Effort". This race is a highlight for every endurance athlete's trail marathon calendar!
We also offer a shorter race with all the full course benefits that will allow runners of all abilities to compete and run on the Inca Trail all the way to Machu Picchu!
The specially designed trail race course is is an abbreviated distance of the full course. The route offers all the difficulties and amazing highlights associated with the last two thirds of the 26.2 mile course (see elevation profile chart). Due to the shorter distance, the course allows our racers more time to reach Machu Picchu, making this race well suited for people with a bit less trail running experience.
This course is very difficult and is harder than most mountainous trail races or mountain marathons in other places. Are you up to the challenge that the Incathon presents?
Official 26.2 Mile Inca Trail Marathon to Machu Picchu Course Description
Elevations here listed in meters (1M=3.3 feet)
Start of race to Wayllabamba (Aid station: 2,985m)-
The 26.2 mile Inca trail run begins from the start line at 4:00 am. The first portion of the race features some pretty runnable smaller ups and downs, followed by a steady ascent for a couple of miles, and then a runnable descent passing by the river again at the aid station at Wayllabamba.
The 16 mile Incathon starts at 0500 am in the same place as the 26.2 race. It takes a more direct route to Wayllabamba and is the same course description below as the 26.2 course from Wayllabamba onward.
Wayllabamba (2,965m) to Warmiwanusqa pass (4,200m)-
From our aid station in Wayllabamba area, runners on the Inca trail begin a very steep climb all the way to Warmiwanusqa (Dead Woman’s Pass). This change of altitude means that racers running the Inca trail will pass through three separate ecological zones during the day: Quechua, Yunga and Puna (from valleys with trees, through high pastures, to arid grassless areas short of the snow line). The tough and steep ascent of roughly 1,250 meters to the first pass from Wayllabamba showcases magnificent views and challenges all experience levels of trail running.
**This section will take you a very long time compared to paces during the first part of the race (often hours, and for the 26.2 mile participants- perhaps longer than the first 10 plus miles of the race.)
Warmiwanusqa (4,200m) to Pacamayo (Aid station 3,590m)-
Descending rapidly from this superb vantage point, Inca Trail runners will pass scenic waterfalls before arriving at Pacamayo, the next aid station.
**Very steep descent that is very difficult to run down fast. Please be careful!
Pacamayo (3,590m) to Runkuracay Pass (3,960m)-
From Pacamayo, climb again to the 2nd pass of Runkuracay to see an ancient Inca watchtower.
**Another climb up mostly stairs, very steep grade.
Runkuracay (3,960m) to Sayaqmarca (3,525m)-
The descent from Runkuracay includes passing by the Inca ruins at Sayaqmarca (a small maze-like ruin built above a sheer cliff).
** Another steep descent with a mix of stone stairs and irregular stone trail.
Sayaqmarca (3,525m) to Phuyupatamarca (Aid station 3,665m)-
Passing through a rock tunnel on a relatively flat section of the trail, racers will reach another aid station at Phuyupatamarca (city above the clouds) which contains a beautiful set of linked stone baths still supplied by mountain streams. From here, racers should see Mt. Salkantay (6271 meters), a very sacred peak to the Incas.
** A much more moderate climb compared to the first two passes, featuring a more rolling profile on mostly irregular stone trail and somewhat easier to go faster in this part than previous sections.
Phuyupatamarca (3,665m) to Winay Wayna (Aid station 2,625m)-
The descent down from Phuyupatamarca to Winay Wanya is a nearly continuous set of steep Inca steps (over 2,300), passing through the cloud forest and ending at the impressive ruins of Winay Wayna, (the final checkpoint).
**Very steep descent mostly irregular stone stairs, and not really very runnable except for people with great footing and lots of trail experience (it can be amazing to watch some of the porters working on the Inca trail run down this with heavy gear). Can also be very slippery here. Please be careful!
Winay Wayna (2,625m) to Intipunku (Sun-Gate: 2,705m)-
The next portion of the course is flatter with occasional rolling terrain through tropical vegetation. The final ascent to Intipunku (the Sun-Gate) includes one set of very steep steps and is where Inca Trail runners will catch their first glimpses of Machu Picchu (2,400 meters) below.
Intipunku (2,705m) to Machu Picchu (Finish area: 2,400m)-
After taking in this memorable view, the trail descends about a mile to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu for a once in a lifetime race finish near the watchtower. This landmark presides over Machu Picchu and offers the famous postcard view of the Inca city that will serve as the backdrop for your Inca Trail marathon finish. All our finishers can complete the marathon at Machu Picchu for that once in a lifetime photo finish!
After many years of operating adventure tours in Peru on the Inca Trail and serious involvement in endurance sports, Erik's Adventures decided to organize a professional, fully supported, standard marathon distance length race on the Inca Trail in 2012; which was the first official 26.2 mile race on the Inca trail and is currently rated one of the most difficult marathons in the world.
The course for this race has been specially designed and professionally measured to 26.2 miles. It is longer than the one way distance of the Inca Trail from KM 82 to to Machu Picchu.
In years prior to 2012- Inca Trail runners have successfully completed challenging runs on varied distances, most commonly from KM 82 to Machu Picchu (less than 26 miles), or from any one of the organized Inca Trail camps directly to Machu Picchu (much less than 26 miles).
Times for these distances have ranged from the fastest recorded time of a little under 4 hours from KM 82 to Machu Picchu by an Inca Trail Porter to the fastest time to date for our specially designed Original 26.2 mile Inca Trail Marathon course- 6:33 by our winner in 2015, Mick Clifford.
Whatever the distance run or the time achieved, the Inca Trail offers runners a once in a lifetime experience. With Erik's Adventures running adventures, you too can add your name to this elite list of Inca Trail runners and become a true Chasqui!
All photos we get of you during the race from our race directors, photographer, and course officials will be available to you free of charge.
**A very special thanks to 2013 participant and professional photographer Stew Nolan who has provided us some of his photos for our website and gallery. Stewart Nolan Photography at stewnolan.com
WE WILL BE FOLLOWING ALL PROTOCOLS FOR A SAFE EXPERIENCE FOR ALL OUR PARTICIPANTS. THIS WILL BE ADJUSTED ACCORDING TO CONDITIONS AT THE TIME OF THE EVENT TO ENSURE YOUR SAFETY AND WELL BEING- OUR MOST IMPORTANT OBJECTIVE.
WE USE USAT AND OTHER INTL RACE ASSOCIATIONS OFFICIAL GUIDELINES TO ADHERE TO SAFE EVENT PARTICIPATION AS IT PERTAINS TO COVID 19. WE WILL ADJUST AS NEEDED TO CONDITIONS AT THE TIME OF THE EVENT TO ENSURE YOUR SAFETY
AND WE ARE OPTIMISTIC WITH THE VACCINE NEWS AND OTHER TREATMENTS THAT PERHAPS THINGS WILL BE FAIRLY RESOLVED BY OUR RACE DATES. NEVERTHELESS, WE ARE STAYING PROACTIVE AND ARE COMMITTED TO ENSURE A SAFE TRIP AND RACE EXPERIENCE NO MATTER WHAT.
$2985per person sharing a room (same price for both runners and spectators)
Single room supplement: For runners and spectators, please add $659 for a single room throughout the trip (for runners this will also include a single tent for the camping night before the race).