A few months ago, I posted about the trail running community and how great it is. Well, I can say I was humbled by this community again when I asked the question: Why do you love running trails?
Over the past few months I have really enjoyed getting to know people who come from all different walks of life. They have inadvertently become mentors for me. They have taught me many lessons in life which have made me a better person both personally and professionally. We all have baggage, struggles and obstacles in our lives. What they have shown me is that it’s not about what happens to you, it’s how you choose to let things affect you currently and in the future. The common lesson that I have learned from all of these people is that trail running is a passion. A passion to do better, push further and overcome any pains or aliments in your life.
So why do I love trail running? Put simply, it’s my way of life. It’s how I identify, it’s who I am, and it’s what I am passionate about. For some, the roads are fun and it’s what they are passionate about. I adore those people because they are following their passion. For me, that passion is found on the trails. All that matters is that you do what is right for you. If you follow that mentality, you will be truly happy with whatever you do.
If you think running trails is what is right for you, then check out what the trail running community has to say about it below!
“Because the road is boring and hard. The trails are soft and always look different, smell different and feel different.” -Kendra Irwin
“Because it feels like being a kid playing in the woods!” -Lisa Redmond
“I love trail running because it's the calm in my chaotic life, it's the silence I need before a noisy day, and the peace I need when my mind is at war.” -Sandy James
“I love trail running because it gives me an opportunity to count my blessings. I am healthy and strong. I can will myself to run up a hill or for a mile distance or any other fleeting goal. It reminds me I have a strong family support system that encourages me to ‘go run’ laugh at my mid run mental processes and listens to my hours of recounting my run. It allows me to connect with a group of friends from all walks of life that quickly have become my extended family. I love trail running because I was created to love nature to enjoy life and to live freely.” -Mer Soleil
“Trail running gives me a quiet, beautiful space to connect with nature, God and myself. It frees me from my anxiety, worry and stress. There's no thinking like trail thinking.” -Nicole Rogers
“The trails are where I connect with God, where I can enjoy and appreciate the nature/earth he created. A place where your senses come alive, seeing the beauty of wild life and awesome scenery, smelling the aroma of honeysuckle, hearing the birds or rushing water of the creek, feeling the sun, a breeze or the weeds hitting your legs. The trails also provide me with a challenge. The constant changing of terrain. Hard Dirt, gravel, tree roots, mud, creek crossing. Flat surfaces to steep hills to hair pin curves. I'm always watching and adjusting with each step or falling, lol. Trails are a great place to clear the mind of worry or stress. Trails are also a great place to run with friends who you can share life with and find encouragement from. Thanks for posing the question I just decided to get up early for a run.” -Pam Cox
“I love trail running because of the multitasking and effort it requires. I use everything that I am out there in different ways at different times. On solo runs I de-stress, make plans and appreciate life. That's accomplished all while I'm jumping rocks, roots, crossing streams and running hills. Group runs add an element of friendship, sharing and caring that is soul strengthening. I love the beauty- animals, nature and smells. I love feeling strong and pushing myself on terrain that protects me from the sun, wind and pressure of the world. It's priceless.” -Tammie Corrigan
“I love trail running because it's as close as I can get to the world as God made it: fresh, pristine, peaceful. There is something almost holy about an early morning run with no sound other than the birds, the babble of a creek, and the crunch of dirt under your running shoes. Lush green, soft breezes, turning a corner and spotting a heron or a deer or a beaver dam, looking up and seeing a pair of eagles, laughing in spite of yourself at the antics of the squirrels... it's life-giving and freeing, it's about as close to Paradise as you can get on this earth, and my soul finds rest in it.” -Monica Farling
“I love trail running because I can trip on roots, stub my toe on rocks and get bit by ticks. Oh yeah, and be one with nature.” -Jeff Kase
I have to say, I wasn’t expecting the response I received when I asked this question. I have honestly been humbled by everyone who responded. A few of them struck chords with me that hit home real hard. A few of them gave me a good laugh because I personally know the people who wrote them and it’s their personality to a “t”. And all of them renewed my sense of what it means to be a runner. Look forward to another round of responses in the second part of this piece.
So I leave you with a single question: Why do you love to run? Meditate on that and let it consume you. You may be surprised where the answer takes you.
Happy trails and happy running,
The Average Joe Trail Runner
About the Author: Alexander Harris
I am the self proclaimed Average Joe of trail running. I am not fast or elite, but I enjoy it passionately. I have my sights set high wanting to run my first 100 miler next year, and completing 4 ultras this year. In my spare time when I am not running, I enjoy photography and am working on bettering my skills to start producing my own running vlogs and documentaries. Feel free to follow my adventures on my blog at averagejoetrailrunner.wordpress.com.