The Trail Brothers were recently enlightened by one of our Boulder, CO friends with some amazing advice for us on how to navigate the trail running community! He pointed out some old, bad, and tired ideas that used to plague the sport, and suggested some new ideas to replace them. Let's dig in!
BAD: Driving/flying far to trail and mountain races, and then using a car to crew.
It may seem fun to participate in adventurous runs through incredible landscapes, but is it worth it to destroy Mother Earth? Even worse, are your crew duties causing more carbon emissions?
GOOD: Running races in your own town. Even if it is "dull and boring", surely you could find some joy in running two-mile loops in your town park? Take some time to appreciate the ground and trees. If you really want to feel challenged, you could set up your own timed event in a Target or Kohl's parking lot and invite some friends. This is a much better solution than singlehandedly destroying the environment with selfish destination travel. As far as crewing, doing it from a mountain bike with a child attachment makes more sense.
BAD: Running trail races that aren't unfit friendly.
Trail races with time limits are oppressive and hurtful to those who cannot finish due to the limitations of their current physical fitness.
GOOD: Do not participate in races that have a time limit or use clocks.
BAD: Assume another runner's gender. It is not kind or thoughtful to meet a runner and make an assumption that they are male or female. Referring to one as he/she or him/her is bad form, and simply archaic.
GOOD: Ask a runner what their preferred pronouns are upon meeting them. Example: "Hi, I'm Blake he/them. I'm excited to run with you, but before we run, could you please share your name and pronoun preference?"
BAD: Running on any public lands ever because they once belonged to indigenous people and you're probably not indigenous. Do you know who the land you are running on belonged to in the 1700s? You should.
GOOD: First seeking permission from local indigenous representatives pre run. Followed by immediately penning a social media apology post run. This is best practice.
BAD: Disputing that trans women are actually women. Trans women are women. Women with penises are women. Full stop.
GOOD: Don't be a bigot.
BAD: Running trail races that aren't handicap friendly.
If a wheelchair cannot access the trail, and easily roll along over the terrain, then it is not an equitable trail race.
GOOD: Choose wheelchair friendly trail and mountain races.
BAD: Supporting the patriarchal white males by running trail races.
Have you ever noticed that most race directors are cis white men? Are you sick of it? Did you know they are trying to oppress you by making races harder for you to get in to? Now you know.
GOOD: Fill your race calendar with events put on exclusively by women and/or LGBTQIA race directors. Most people like to choose races based on the distance or environment, but that is dated thinking. First consider who you are supporting. If a white male is involved, do not run the race. This will reduce the amount of patriarchal control in trailrunning.
BAD: Running trail races that have oppressive and closed-minded categories like "M" and "F".
Only ignorant, old, white, male dinosaurs believe in "male" and "female". It's 2022, guys. Wake up.
GOOD: Participate in races that have at least 6 categories, preferably more:
cis-female, cis-male, non-binary, demispirited, demigod, transspecies, spirit, nonexistent, etc.
Wow! We had no idea how behind we were. We feel we've really learned a lot here, and we hope you did too. Remember to share with your friends so they too can be enlightened.
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