Posted on December 6, 2015
Even if you have never heard of trail running, you probably already know exactly what it is: running on hiking trails, as opposed to roads or tracks. Some people trail run competitively, often training and racing on mountainous terrain with fairly steep trails.
You might wonder what the difference is between trail running and cross country running. After all, cross country also pits runners against each other on “natural terrain,” which may include grassy areas, dirt paths, and gravel roads. It's not all that easy to distinguish between cross country and trail running, but cross country running is generally over shorter distances and certainly the sport has been in existence longer and has strict governing rules.
Basically, trail running tends to be longer and looser.
Trial running is a part of a swell in interest in “adventure racing.” People seem to be more interested in off-road sports, in wilderness sports, and in extreme sports. The tag line for Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Runs is “Where Mother Nature is your toughest competitor.”
Other names for trail running include mountain running, hill running, or (in Britain) fell running. A more extreme version of the sport – running at very high altitudes – is sometimes called skyrunning.
Millions of people in the U.S. alone participate in trail running. Today's world championships are 21 kilometers long (a bit more than 13 miles – so what is called a half marathon), but some trail running races are shorter or way longer – more than 100 miles (161 km)!
In some trail races, only water and emergency medical aid is available at aid stations, but in other trail races there are food and energy drinks every 5 to 10 km. Some trail races even last multiple days – and, of these, some provide lodging and runner support for each night, but others require the runners to carry all their needed equipment: clothes, sleeping bags, food, emergency flares, flashlights, compasses, etc. While RUNNING!
XTERRA Trail Runs are held all over the world. We're talking Australia, New Zealand, Philippines, Malaysia, Japan, Brazil, Costa Rica, Canada, Luxembourg, Greece, Spain, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland. Today's championship race is held in the U.S. But not just any old place in the U.S. – it's in Hawaii!
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