Trail running etiquette
You might be wondering what this chapter is about and if it’s worth reading, and to that question I would yell YES! I have been on countless trails and it still amazes me how little people actually respect trail etiquette so lets go over some of the basic rules when you are heading out for your next outdoor adventure.
1. Respect for nature:
Sounds obvious right? You would be amazed with how many people who spent their time in nature are actually NOT doing this, although it is super simple. Rule #1 is to stay on marked trails because straying off marked trails can damage fragile ecosystems. Always adhere to designated paths to preserve the natural habitat. If you encounter muddy trails, try to stay as close as possible to the path of in the middle to avoid widening the trails which can cause erosion.
Furthermore it is SUPER important to leave no trace. Pack out all trash, energy gels, and wrappers you take with you during your trail adventures. Leave the trail as you found it to preserve its beauty for others.
And as cute and beautiful the wildlife you encounter might be, observe the animals from a distance. Loud noises and sudden movements can stress them and this can be especially harmful if it’s a mother with her baby since this can lead to abandonment of the baby out of fear.
2. Sharing the trails:
You will most likely not be the only one having the wonderful idea to go out and explore nature. If you are going to more mountainous areas, uphill runners and hikers generally have the right of way. Be courteous and step aside to let them pass. Downhill runners should yield to those going uphill and be extra cautious when they are racing downhill to avoid accidents.
3. Safety first:
I am not a big fan of this, but if you feel the need to put on music in nature, do it quietly. First of all, others might want to enjoy the silence (me) but it’s also important to remain aware of your surroundings and other trail users.
If you want to pass a hiker of fellow trail runner in front of you, always show what your intentions are and wait for acknowledgement of the other person before you pass him or her. Also do ONLY pass on places where there is enough space to pass. If this is not the case, then wait until there comes a wider path.
4. Trailrunner’s code during races:
Although we will talk more about this during the ‘Race’ chapter, I want to already briefly touch upon the race etiquettes.
Trail running is about personal challenges and communing with nature. Every trail runner is on the trails for a different reason and will consequently go at a different pace. If you feel to need to pass the person in front of you, let this person know which side you will pass (left or right) and wait until you see some acknowledgement of this person (eg, going more to the opposite side to make room for you to pass).
If you happen to be in the other position, that a person wants to pass you because (s)he is faster and you can (there is enough room to pass safely), then also let this person pass.
Although these are not written rules, it is important to know them. Feel free to share these ‘rules’ with others, so the trails can stay a nice and respectful environment for everyone.