Trail running is a fantastic break from road running and trail races are even better. Here’s why:
- The Vibe.
Trail races have such a cool vibe. They’re small and more intimate events, where runners are usually congratulated by the race director at the finish. Directors put on these races, not to make tons of money like the big race franchises, but because they love it. They’re also way more green and try to put on a race that’s environmentally friendly.
- The Snacks.
You don’t get these luxurious snacks a a road race. The aid stations at trail races have a little something for everyone. Chips, pickles, PB&J sandwiches, or a handful of gummy bears or M&Ms to go. It’s something to look forward to when you’re 3 miles into a steep 5 mile climb!
- The Camaraderie.
In a trail race, everyone is your friend. You’ll run next to someone for a bit, and chat with them. Then, as you pass people (and get passed), you will cheer them on and vice versa. Everybody is for one another – what’s not to love about that?
- The Pace.
Unless you’re familiar with the course, it’s hard to go into a trail race with pace expectations. Weight lifted! You’re racing for the fun of it – like a kid running through the woods – and pace doesn’t usually matter.
- The Shade.
In the dead of summer, I love hitting the trails because it’s usually cooler. Or, at least the sun isn’t beating down on you constantly.
- The Lighting.
I love the way the forest looks when the sun is shining down on it. It’s peaceful and beautiful and seeing this always causes me to pause and take it in for a moment.
- The Scenery.
When running on a trail, you’re truly off the beaten path, which means you get to see some pretty cool things the rest of the population doesn’t typically see, for example, waterfalls. Many might disagree with me on this point, but I usually don’t prefer a flat race course. I love the variation and challenge that hills present and this is always present in a good trail race. When you’ve worked hard to earn the amazing view, take a moment to soak it in.
- The Medal.
I’m not one for participation awards, so I don’t do a race for the medal. In fact, I have so many race medals, they are meaningless. To keep costs down and stay “green”, many races don’t even award finishers medals. Those that do, usually give something more unique, like a handmade ceramic medal.
- The Swag.
The swag at trail races is so much better than the mass-produced junk you pick up with a mainstream race. I’ve gotten hats, socks, and beer glasses with my recent trail races – all of these are better than a crappy shirt I’ll immediately throw in the Goodwill pile.
- The Beer.
Trail races serve beer that you’ll actually want to drink, not Michelob Ultra. Often a locally made craft brew. Yes, please.