Friday, May 2, 2008

American Trail Running Association

I recently joined the American Trail Running Association (ATRA). After my last post about joining the American Hiking Association, I think I have too much time on my hands...or feet! I saw the ATRA advertisement in Trail Runner magazine too. For $25 you get a subscription to Running Times magazine and Trail Times newsletter. If you go for the $35 membership level, they also throw in a subscription to Trail Runner magazine! Either one is a good deal.

Put your money, and time, with the groups that believe in the same things you do. Do you enjoy trail running? Then join a trail running group! They'll advocate for your cause. And don't think that just sending your money their way is all you need to do. The money helps, but they need your volunteer time too. If not them, then organize a volunteer activity yourself. It's not that hard. The buffalo trail runners in Champaign, IL get together to perform trail maintenance at the Clinton Lake northfork trail a few times per year. If you live in the area and have run that trail, but never volunteered to keep it up, you should be ashamed of yourself! If your schedule doesn't fit the groups planned work dates, then go out by yourself and take a BIG trash bag and pick up waste. At Clinton Lake I collected 2 huge trash bags full of garbage on one walking loop. No excuses. Many maintenance tasks don't require special equipment (chain saws, axes, rakes, clippers, mowers, shovels, weed-wackers, etc).

The trails we love to run would not exist without a dedicated group to blaze them...and maintain them. As a trail runner, I know you are not sitting on the couch. You have the stamina and desire to get outside and do serious training. Why not carve off a slice of time to give back to your sport?

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