The American Trail Running Association (ATRA) announced “Trail Running Responsibility” as its theme for 2019. This is a topic to follow recent ATRA themes including last year’s Trail Stewardship: Leaving a Lasting Legacy, and the 2017 theme, Community: Building Trail Running Connections.
Starting in January, we’ll be publishing a series of articles reflecting the values of this year’s theme. Topics will include responsible trail running with dogs, how to share the trail with other users, training and racing etiquette, as well as how to deal with animal encounters.
“Trail Running Responsibility is about the way runners are using the trails, with respect to the environment, wildlife as well as responsible and respectful behavior at trail races,” said ATRA vice president Ellen Miller. “As experienced trail runners, we can support new people coming into our sport by educating them how to be respectful of soft-surface trails, mountain environments, and pristine spaces. This means no short-cutting, staying on the marked trails, and not taking selfies with the bears, deer, or moose. Also being sure to think about and practice using the ideals established by Leave No Trace. In the big picture, it’s about recreating outdoors responsibly.”
Added ATRA advisory member Andy Ames, “Now that trail running is fairly main stream and trails are becoming ever more crowded, we all need to think about trail etiquette. As trail runners we all have an impact on the trails but also on other’s experience. Consider simple things when encountering other trail users like greeting them and making eye contact, alerting when approaching from behind, traveling quietly as to not interfere with others peoples’ outdoor experience….in other words help ensure the trails we love are a friendly place to visit.”
One way to respect the trail has been demonstrated by ATRA’s outreach and partnership specialist Peter Maksimow who recently initiated a “plogging” challenge. When Maksimow turned 40 on December 7, he challenged friends around the world to pick up trash on their trail runs.
“Peter took the lead to ‘plog on.’ We invite our community to share ways they have incorporated responsible trail running principles into their training and racing,” said ATRA executive director Nancy Hobbs. “Promoting positive endeavors will help us all grow as a community.”
In 2019, educational resources for trail runners, race directors & brands will continue to be an important area of focus for ATRA as will providing practical resources like its Event Liability Insurance – T.R.I.P., and a comprehensive (and searchable) online event calendar.