Why We Trail Run

I head to the trails for some peace and quiet, and because I like the sound of dirt, leaves or branches crunching under my feet. I like weaving in and out of trees, at any pace, and crossing paths with kangaroos and wallabies. I like that sometimes I spot birds I’ve never seen before.

I head to the trails because it helps me think. I rarely make a big decision without spending a couple of kilometres with nothing but the rhythm of my breath and my feet. Somehow the motion – surrounded by the bush instead of cars and neighbours – helps me sort through decisions that otherwise lie stagnant. So I guess I run trails for clarity.

I run trails with friends because it’s fun. Breaking down the latest TV show episode (and otherwise catching up) with a girlfriend as we ran a one-way trail in the foothills to meet our families is one of my favourite memories from this summer. And running with three friends on a 12km route through thick bush on a chilly morning still brings a smile to my face from last winter. And the day I ran a huge mountain loop with two friends and had to hitchhike back to the car because we missed the bus still makes me laugh; the memory of the views from the super-windy pass we crossed over both makes my ears cold and my legs want to move.

I run on trails because from the moment I take my first step until the last, I worry only about myself and if I have enough to drink, eat and wear. And even then, I don’t worry that much. As someone who tends to stress too much about everything – my son’s lingering cough, my parents’ health, finances, projects, etc. – running a trail in the bush and taking care of just me is a pretty stress-free environment… a stress-free half-hour, hour or three.

I run on trails because even on a 30-minute outing, and even if I have to walk some of it due to injury or whatever, I get a good dose of nature, sweat and calm.

So that’s me. What about you? Why do you run trails?

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