Tuesday Trail Tip – 3 Ways to Get More Involved in your Trail Running Community

Tayte Pollmann’s Tuesday Trail Tips series of articles are supported by American Trail Running Association corporate member Nike Trail Running. You can follow Tayte on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

For the past seven weeks, I’ve been unable to run because of a bone injury discussed in a previous Tuesday trail tip. Spending time away from running is difficult, but I’ve received much support from my friends in the trail running community who help me stay positive. From my experience with this injury, I learned that you don’t have to be running to become closer to the amazing group of individuals who comprise the trail running community. To my surprise, I now feel more involved than ever within our community. Listed below are three ways I’ve found to get more involved and to make new connections.

Find Trail Running Races Near You

Since my injury, I observed and supported three trail races in three different states. I filmed Meagan Kimmel’s record-breaking finish at the Pikes Peak Marathon in Manitou Springs, CO, I set up the finish area and documented the inaugural Gnar Gnar Trail Race in Government Camp, OR, presented by Nike Trail, and I supported friends at the SLO Ultra in San Luis Obispo, CA . I discovered that being present at these races helped me get to know my friends better, make new friends and appreciate the incredible dedication of race directors and volunteers who put on trail races. At the Pikes Peak Marathon I was at the event for over 10 hours until the final finishers crossed the line. I gave myself time to embrace the energetic atmosphere of the event and make new friends. Many of the volunteers at the Pikes Peak Marathon noticed my left foot in a boot and said they would be cheering for me next year in the 2019 marathon. I learned that whether you are a race participant, volunteer, or cheerleader for your friends racing, you will find a sense of community at a trail event. Check out our events calendar to find trail races near you.

Join Local Trail Running Groups

There are many trail running clubs & groups across the country who can help you to discover new trails and meet new runners. This summer I had the opportunity to run with my friend Joseph Gray’s training group, The American Distance Project, based in Colorado Springs, CO.The group is comprised of many elite athletes, many of whom are Kenyan runners. I was welcomed by the group for a blazingly fast Sunday long run on the popular Santa Fe Trail in Colorado Springs, and I had fun cruising at our five-and-a-half minutes per mile pace in the thin Colorado air and listening to my new friends speaking Swahili. One friend accidentally starting speaking to me in Swahili before he realized I don’t know the language! Several of my new friends now continue to support me through my injury, even after only one run with the group. I look forward to training with them again and definitely practicing my Swahili. Check out our national directory of trail running clubs and find one near you.

Connect With Other Trail Runners On Social Media

I like to use social media to get inspired by wonderful stories and adventures of runners on the trails. I’m always amazed by the stunning ridge-running videos of Kilian Jornet and Seb Montez; uplifting stories of perseverance, such as the video of Rob Krar’s journey to ultra-running; and efforts of runners who use their love of the trails to protect nature, such as when elite trail runner, Dakota Jones, biked over 600 miles on his way to and from the Pikes Peak Marathon in an effort to promote the cause of Protect Our Winters.

Social media, such as Strava, is also a great way to find routes to run in almost any area. When I run in a new place, I’ll research routes by other runners and plan my run from their data and suggestions. I’ll also check the Facebook or Instagram pages of my running groups, such as the Wasatch Mountain Wrangler’s Facebook page when I’m back home in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Wranglers post about the conditions on the mountains, efforts to clean up the trails, group runs, races, and photos of fun trails in the area. Many times people from out-of-town reach out to the Wrangler’s Facebook page and find suggestions about where to hike and run.