American Trail Running Association to promote “Trail Running Responsibly” in 2019

Here at the American Trail Running Association (ATRA), we’re proud to announce “Trail Running Responsibly” as our theme for 2019. This important topic follows our recent annual themes including last year’s Trail Stewardship: Leaving a Lasting Legacy, and the 2017 theme, Community: Building Trail Running Connections.

Starting in January, we’ll be publishing a series of articles reflecting the values of trail running responsibly. Topics will include responsible trail running with dogs, how to share the trail with other users, training and racing etiquette, as well as how to respond to animal encounters on the trail.

“Trail Running Responsibly is about the way runners are using the trails, with respect to the environment, wildlife as well as responsible and respectful behavior at trail races,” said ATRA vice president Ellen Miller. “As experienced trail runners, we can support new people coming into our sport by educating them how to be respectful of soft-surface trails, mountain environments, and pristine spaces. This means no short-cutting, staying on the marked trails, and not taking selfies with the bears, deer, or moose. Also being sure to think about and practice using the ideals established by Leave No Trace. In the big picture, it’s about recreating outdoors responsibly.”

Added ATRA advisory member Andy Ames, “Now that trail running is fairly mainstream and trails are becoming ever more crowded, we all need to think about trail etiquette. As trail runners we all have an impact on the trails but also on each other’s experience. Consider simple things when encountering other trail users like greeting them and making eye contact, alerting when approaching from behind, traveling quietly as to not interfere with others peoples’ outdoor experience….in other words help ensure the trails we love are a friendly place to visit.”

One way to respect the trail has been demonstrated by our outreach and partnership specialist Peter Maksimow who recently initiated a “plogging” challenge. When Maksimow turned 40 on December 7, he challenged friends around the world to pick up trash on their trail runs.

“Peter took the lead to ‘plog on.’ We invite our community to share ways they have incorporated responsible trail running principles into their training and racing,” said ATRA executive director Nancy Hobbs. “Promoting positive endeavors will help us all grow as a community.”

In 2019, educational resources for trail runners, race directors & brands will continue to be an important area of focus for us. For race directors we offer T.R.I.P., an Event Liability Insurance program and our Event Standards Program – guidelines for hosting a safe, fun and successful trail race.

Visitors to our website can find tips for running on trails from ATRA project associate Tayte Pollmann. In 2019 we’ll also continue to highlight & publish even more helpful resources including our comprehensive trail race only event calendar, Rules on the Run, monthly View from the Pack articles presented by RaidLight, Trail Towns and Trail Ambassadors presented by CamelBak — a program also supported by CEP Compression, adidas outdoor, and LEKI USA.

We continue to off a variety of membership levels including the Legacy Membership. For a minimum investment of $1000, legacy members enjoy a lifetime membership with the American Trail Running Association. All donations at this level are 100% tax deductible.

“Legacy Members of ATRA are individuals who want to make their mark and, unlike their ethic of leaving no trace on the trails they run, have a lasting impression through the organization that supports the sport they value so highly,” said ATRA president Adam W. Chase. “Legacy Membership allows trail running enthusiasts to make a substantial, one-time donation to a not-for-profit that stands for and supports their passion.”

In 2019, another membership category will be highlighted, that of Specialty Run. This single track membership level is designed for running stores and coincide with our new Spotlight on Speciality to be introduced in late January.

Here’s a new years resolution; get the latest mountain, ultra and trail running news on our website and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. Also be sure to join us at the 7th US Trail Running Conference, October 9-12, in Estes Park, Colorado.