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RumiDude
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RumiDude
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PostFri Aug 27, 2021 11:44 am 
Here is a piece from several years ago by Craig Romano about trail running and it's place in outdoor recreation. I used to frown on trail runners. He mentions Harvey Manning, but even Kare Sykes did not much like trail runners. Yet the pastime is growing. Anyway, Craig Romano offers up some interesting insight. And truth be told, I have done some trail running as well, when I lived in the Midwest. I might try to take it up again ... if I can get motivated.

Rumi

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"This is my Indian summer ... I'm far more dangerous now, because I don't care at all."
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zimmertr
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PostFri Aug 27, 2021 1:17 pm 
I get shin splints when I run on concrete so I almost exclusively run hiking trails. I think a lot of the disdain is rooted in jealousy. It's not hard, as a runner, to notice a hiker before you come across them and adjust your pace to a walk so not to blow past them. I could see how it might be annoying for those who encounter more rude runners, however.

It's liberating to be able to cover huge distances in a single day. I hate sleeping in tents.

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Ski
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PostFri Aug 27, 2021 1:50 pm 
Thanks Rumi. Good essay by Mr. Romano.

The first "trail runners" I ever encountered scared the hell out of me. It was almost twilight when I was fixing dinner about five miles up Redwood Creek, and I heard thump thump thump thump coming toward me. I looked up and saw a couple run by on the trail, which was only about 50 feet away.
My first thought was "Oooo that was weird."
About twenty minutes later they were thump thump thump thumping past me again, going back down to the trailhead.
My thought was "Who would drive all this distance to come here to run up and down this trail in what clearly couldn't have been more than an hour?"

A couple years ago I ran into two young men who were running up and down the Queets Trail. They ran up to Bob Creek and back down in the time it took me to just get to Tshletshy.

I pass trail runners - or perhaps I should say they pass me - almost every day down at the Park. Sometimes I don't hear them as they come up behind me and they startle me. If I see them coming at me I'll move off the trail so they don't have to break stride, which also gives me a few seconds of rest.

I have no beef with their activities. Almost all of them are wearing earbuds, so they don't make a lot of noise. They don't haul a lot of crap with them, so they're not littering. Very rarely do I see them with dogs, so they're not leaving bags of dogshit on the trails. What's not to like?

The National Park Service definitely made the right move by not allowing competitive events on NPS facilities. That's a door that should not be opened.

It goes back to the "more people outdoors = more outdoor supporters" thing. More feet on the trails is better for all of us.

Harvey unfortunately didn't have all the answers.

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"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."

Gil, RumiDude
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philfort
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PostFri Aug 27, 2021 1:51 pm 
I don't see much problem with it, except when they try to run me over (on the PCT near Snoqualmie pass a couple of weeks ago).

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thuja
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PostFri Aug 27, 2021 3:37 pm 
IMHO it's reckless and dangerous. Underdressed, not carrying 10 essentials, improper footwear for many trails and weather conditions. If they get injured they are screwed. Violates(ignores?) basic backcountry risk management practices.

Surprising we don't hear more stories of TRs being rescued by SAR.

I hope it's a transient fad....

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Malachai Constant
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PostFri Aug 27, 2021 3:51 pm 
We used to trail run, even in timed events in the Issaquah alps so I have no standing to object. Most runners lately have said hello to not startle when coming from behind. My only objection is to large commercial events that take over valuable camp space on places like the Wonderland Trail. We recently ran into a group going up to Copper Mountain Lookout and they all were polite and cleaned up afterwards. Unfortunately we do not participate except on urban trails due to past injuries. Unfortunately rude bikers who approach without warning are another story.

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"You do not laugh when you look at the mountains, or when you look at the sea." Lafcadio Hearn
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Cyclopath
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Cyclopath
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PostFri Aug 27, 2021 8:28 pm 
I'm happy for anybody doing anything non destructive in nature.   up.gif

Noheaperture, Downhill, hapemask, thunderhead, RumiDude
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BigBrunyon
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PostSat Aug 28, 2021 12:30 am 
The key to establishing authority on the trail when running is to blow past people, then take a break and hide in the woods till they catch up and get back in front of you again. Then you blow past em again!! No words, just maintain intense focus and pace as you blow past! Repeat 3-4 times!!

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JeremyJ  Noheaperture, awilsondc
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Joseph
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PostSat Aug 28, 2021 9:30 am 
Kind of a hot button issue for some.  I have to admit that I find it annoying to be hiking along (like on the WT) schlepping up a hill with my full backpack), only to be startled by someone who grunts "on your left!" - as they pass me by.  I am supposed to make way for them.  In reading Craig Romano's article and his defense of trail running, it seems more and more to me that for trail runners, the whole endeavor is self focused if you will.  Its all about them as they blow by the other hikers, trying to achieve their record time or personal best time.  Its self-centered.

But trail running can on any trail, and why not?  Why settle for running in urban areas, and instead push for more wilderness areas to run?  Fresher air, etc (albeit thinner maybe).  I think there's a difference between those who trail run in say, less used areas, and those who crowd the premier trails.   Harvey Manning wrote that doing the one-day Enchantments loop (up Aasgard then down) was like eating dessert before dinner.  In that vein, I'd describe running the Wonderland Trail as similar to competing in a lobster eating contest.  What's the point, other than, "hey look how fast I did this!"   So no, I'm kind of annoyed with them, but I think they're here to stay, as are a lot of other types who we must tolerate on the trail.

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Cyclopath
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PostSat Aug 28, 2021 10:03 am 
Joseph wrote:
it seems more and more to me that for trail runners, the whole endeavor is self focused if you will.  Its all about them as they blow by the other hikers, trying to achieve their record time or personal best time.  Its self-centered. 

Personally, when I go hiking, it's all about me trying to achieve a good experience.  It's self centered.

Why does it matter what other trail users' motivations are though?

hapemask, ChinookPass
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silence
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PostSat Aug 28, 2021 10:14 am 
Years ago we reached out to the local trail runners community about doing a film about the sport, focusing on those who do it on the Wonderland trail. Most of our encounters have always been cordial, while on other more urban trails it was not always so. Anyhow, they said they were not interested in drawing attention to their sport in the NPs (much like BASE jumpers) because the parks frowned on the sport (attracts predators on the trails among other reasons).

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Keep a good head and always carry a light bulb. – Bob Dylan
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Chief Joseph
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PostSat Aug 28, 2021 10:54 am 
thuja wrote:
IMHO it's reckless and dangerous. Underdressed, not carrying 10 essentials, improper footwear for many trails and weather conditions. If they get injured they are screwed. Violates(ignores?) basic backcountry risk management practices.

Surprising we don't hear more stories of TRs being rescued by SAR.

I hope it's a transient fad....

I met a young TR while hiking in the winds...first time he was headed to Pinedale to resupply (he was running the CDT) he stopped to chat for a bit, he had on light clothing-shorts and a small pack (guessing less that 10 lbs for sure) but I am thinking that someone young, in fantastic shape and carrying just the bare essentials would be fine out there, even solo as he was. This guy was obviously very experienced and in amazing condition. I met him again a couple days later while he was heading up from Pinedale, we chatted as he ran uphill, he did not stop. Different strokes..

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Go placidly amid the noise and waste, and remember what comfort there may be in owning a piece thereof.

Cyclopath
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silence
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PostSat Aug 28, 2021 11:46 am 
Agreed ... some of the long distance backcountry trail runners we've met over the years are so prepared, skilled, conditioned and courteous (not self-centered in spite of them maybe running for a record time) that I worry way less about them than the newbie hikers who often bite off more than they can chew and end up in trouble.

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Keep a good head and always carry a light bulb. – Bob Dylan

Chief Joseph
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kw
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PostSat Aug 28, 2021 12:04 pm 
Joseph wrote:
Kind of a hot button issue for some.  I have to admit that I find it annoying to be hiking along (like on the WT) schlepping up a hill with my full backpack), only to be startled by someone who grunts "on your left!" - as they pass me by.  I am supposed to make way for them.  In reading Craig Romano's article and his defense of trail running, it seems more and more to me that for trail runners, the whole endeavor is self focused if you will.  Its all about them as they blow by the other hikers, trying to achieve their record time or personal best time.  Its self-centered.

But trail running can on any trail, and why not?  Why settle for running in urban areas, and instead push for more wilderness areas to run?  Fresher air, etc (albeit thinner maybe).  I think there's a difference between those who trail run in say, less used areas, and those who crowd the premier trails.   Harvey Manning wrote that doing the one-day Enchantments loop (up Aasgard then down) was like eating dessert before dinner.  In that vein, I'd describe running the Wonderland Trail as similar to competing in a lobster eating contest.  What's the point, other than, "hey look how fast I did this!"   So no, I'm kind of annoyed with them, but I think they're here to stay, as are a lot of other types who we must tolerate on the trail.

How exactly is someone supposed to pass without you moving to give them space on the trail? I understand it might be frustrating if they’re rude about it, but passing is just something that happens on a singletrack trail, regardless of whether they’re a runner or just a quicker hiker.

Also, I’ve never really understood this doubt and skepticism that seems to always be present towards the “motivations” of anyone in the wilderness that isn’t hiking or on a horse. People love to say the same thing with mountain bikers, just because someone isn’t hiking doesn’t mean they’re in the wilderness for any reason other than yours. I guess you could say maybe the FKT people are just there because of speed, but quite frankly I’ve never had a problem with them not appreciating the wilderness either. Just because you choose to lug a heavy pack on your back doesn’t mean you are in touch with the outdoors more.

Ultimately, while I don’t mean this as a response to you, but more to the references to Harvey Manning and just attitudes in general, people need to catch up with the present and give up on being wilderness purists. There’s a million ways to be in the outdoors and people moving slightly faster than you on a trail is about the least disruptive possible.

ChinookPass, Cyclopath, silence, Chief Joseph
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Ski
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PostSat Aug 28, 2021 1:36 pm 
kw wrote:
Just because you choose to lug a heavy pack on your back doesn’t mean you are in touch with the outdoors more.

I think you'd find a good number of people who might not necessarily agree with you on that point.

The "lug a heavy pack" part connotes a lower speed. ("lug", by definition, is to "carry laboriously".)

There's a reason old adages are old adages - in most cases there is a degree of truth in them.

The old "stop and smell the roses" thing is missed by those who are moving at running speed. You may fool yourself into believing you are seeing all the sights and smelling all the smells, but the reality is you're getting about as much of the flavor of a place as you would driving on the freeway at 60mph.

--------------
"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."

flatsqwerl
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