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Since hitting newsstands September 1, 2018, our September/October issue has been under some scrutiny for our “Top Trail Race Bucket List” article, regarding the lack of women featured in the “Local Hero” sidebars. We appreciate the loyalty of our readers and your passion for the sport, and take your feedback seriously.
Our mission has always been to curate an image of trail running that is as welcoming and diverse as the sport. By and large, we feel that this issue succeeds.
The issue opens to a Q&A with Mirna Valerio, of Brooklyn, New York—a woman who has changed the perception of what a runner’s physique can be. She says in her interview that she’d like to see a change in the “sport’s image to the uninitiated.”
“From the outside,” she goes on, “it looks like it’s this exclusive club for thin white dudes with long hair.”
On the cover of the issue, we feature a stunning image of the strong Northwest trail runner Jenn Love (pictured above) and our TOC page opens with a striking shot of the legendary Darcy Piceu at Colorado’s Hardrock 100. A quote by Cat Bradley, a haiku by Clare Gallagher (both top trail competitors) and a destination piece by Jamie Siebrase also kick things off.
In “Wisdom,” we highlight Gunhild Swanson, a 74-year-old German-born woman, who, in 2015, became the oldest female ever to have finished the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run. The issue also utilizes female authors for our Nutrition, Training, Trail Tested and Last Gasp departments as well as a feature article about Kilian Jornet breaking the UK’s Bob Graham Round record.
The “Top Trail Race Bucket List” article highlights eight iconic trail races in the U.S. and the towns that host them, with each offering a sidebar on a runner, a “Local Hero,” who adds insights about the race. The sidebars don’t feature any women.
In this instance, the reasons for the oversight are logistical: our author had difficulty getting the information and photos needed for the several women slated to be “Local Heroes,” and was on a tight deadline. Eventually, a decision was made to use the available content and go to print.
We heard from readers and media peers alike. We received emails and Facebook messages, some gentle, some not. What is important from our perspective is that we continue to work toward a truthful lens into trail running and that you, our audience, keep us on point.
Thanks for being a great community—happy trails,
Trail Runner magazine