Staying Connected to the Trail Running Community When You’re Injured

Tayte Pollmann’s Tuesday Trail Tips series of articles are supported by American Trail Running Association corporate member Nike Trail Running. The Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon is also a member of the American Trail Running Association.

I’ve been in a boot and using crutches for 16 days now, but my injury has made me realize there are ways to continue to be a part of the amazing trail running community, even when you’re injured. Here’s a few ways I found myself having fun in the sport without actually doing any trail running.

Attending the Ledlenser Trails in Motion Film Festival

This event is an annual film tour that showcases some of the best trail running-related short films gathered from across the world. I had the opportunity to see this event in Colorado Springs, CO on the evening of August 15. The films were all fantastic and reminded me why I love to be a part of the trail running community. One particularly inspiring film for me was about a runner who completed a challenging 50K using his crutches with one leg. I have a new appreciation for this runner now that I know how difficult it is to hop around with a foot in a boot using crutches. I can’t imagine how he managed to climb up and down trails for 50K!

Tayte at the Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent Expo.

Working at the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon Pre-race Expo

Usually, I’m not one to spend much time at pre-race festivities. I pick up my bib number and snag a few free energy bars. This time, however, my colleagues at the American Trail Running Association and I set up a table and worked at the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon pre-race expo on August 16, 17, and 18. The experience was a great way to meet runners, as there were roughly 3000 athletes from all over the world coming to the expo to pick up their bib numbers. I found myself appreciating the energetic atmosphere created by the racers and I received many positive comments about my injury from runners and volunteers who wished me a speedy recovery. In my future races, I’ll make sure to be more involved in pre-race festivities as a way to make new friends and connections within our awesome trail running community.

Spectating at the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon

The 63rd annual Pikes Peak races held on August 18 and 19, were actually some of the few trail running races in which I’ve ever spectated. When I’m at a trail race, I’m usually running! Many people asked me if it was difficult to watch a race that I planned to run, but the experience was actually quite inspiring. I watched many of my new friends take top places in the Ascent. I also congratulated my friend, Dakota Jones, who broke the 1993 downhill record in the marathon set by Matt Carpenter. I had the chills watching Megan Kimmel break Lynn Bjorkland’s marathon course record which had stood since 1981.

Behind the scenes at the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon.

Throughout these activities, I felt good supporting other runners with their own goals and achievements. I now have a stronger desire to do well at this race next year. I’ve discovered that I don’t need to race to have fun and inspire myself to train harder and become a better runner. Injuries may have changed my goal to run well at the Pikes Peak Marathon both last year and this year, but I’m optimistic for next year that the third time’s the charm!