Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Road Runners...What's Your Problem?

Airing of the grievances continues...

What the hell is wrong with road runners? They seem way too serious and they don't seem to have much fun. Whenever I run a road race (not many, I prefer trails) everyone is so competitive and out for themselves. Before and after the race, they compare PRs, talk about their next race, what they'll do differently, why this race didn't go as well as it should have...blah, blah, blah. Very few smiles.

What's wrong with you? Enjoy. When's the last time a road runner passed you and asked how you were doing? "You OK? Need any help? Want to run together for a while?" Never heard these words from a fellow road runner...but I hear them at EVERY trail race I run. At trail ultramarathons, racers will even offer up food, water, electrolytes, and pain pills. Pretty cool. Trail races, especially ultras, have a laid-back vibe where everyone helps each other. Harder the race, the more assistance offered to fellow racers. We are in it together. It may be a race, but we are not really competing with each other...more against the course and ourselves. And afterward, we'll share a beer with all of those that beat us. Good times. Lots of smiles.

Also, roads are way too easy and repetitive. What's up with the attraction to road running? Get off the freaking pavement and enjoy nature. Hit the trails. Run a trail race and experience true camaraderie. Challenge yourself with a trail that goes up, down, left, right, across streams, through mud, and over bridges, rocks, and roots. Enjoy running the way it was out in the wild!

Road runners...I just don't get them.


Adam D. Langenfeld said...

It's more convenient than a half-hour drive each way, brother. :/-

That being said, I agree that the attitude is vastly more friendly and congenial at a trail race than at a road race.

Some of us just have to work with what we've got.

Chris said...

Very true Adam. I could have written a rant about how people drive far just to run! Work with what you have. Running is simple.

David Failing said...

"They seem way too serious and they don't seem to have much fun. "

Gives me some hope that I'll fit right in as a trail runner! I run on roads because I don't live close to trails in Iowa, but moving to C-U will change that. The only reason I run: Because I usually end up grinning like an idiot afterwards, even on the sweatiest, most miserably paced run. Enjoying your rants!

Chris said...


You'll fit in just fine. Trail folks embrace newbies.

Brad said...

This rant does nothing more than continue the unnecessary "separation" between road runners and trail runners. I happen to run both trail and road, and would actually prefer to run trails most of the time; but as Adam said there are not any trails that are close to me for convenient daily training runs. That being said, I have run many road races that were laid back and full of friendly people. I ran my first full marathon last year and had a great conversation with a fellow runner that I met on the course from mile 11 to 20.

I am sure this post was somewhat tongue in cheek, but I find this "anti road runner" attitude among some trail runners to be foolish. We are ALLLLL runners, right? Why does it matter what surface I happen to run on? Drop the self righteousness and embrace ALL of your fellow runners, whether they be road, trail, or treadmill!

Anonymous said...

Harder to meditate on trails, no? Left, right, sticks, up's and down's, flies, tigers, mud...easy, steady, straight roads allows us to get into the flow more easily. I don't know. I've never run on trails.


Chris said...

Actually easier to meditate/relax on the trails. You are "in tune" with nature. No cars, no dogs, no traffic signals, etc. Just you and the trail!

Chris said...

Yeah, these rants are only somewhat true...I love all kinds of runners, but I still prefer trails and prefer trail runners. I consistently find a difference between the two groups (training and racing), but there are always exceptions. I occasionally run on tracks, hit the roads every week, but mostly stick to trails. I'm fortunate to have access to trails really close to home.