Trail Races Do More Good Than Harm to Environment, Runners Say

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Highlights from the November 2013 Trail Runner Blog Symposium


The November 2013 Trail Runner Blog Symposium topic was: Do trail races do unnecessary harm to the environment?

Our Editors’ Choice, “Lessons from the Red Pine,” by JS Esposito, draws an apt analogy to the majestic pinus resinosa to demonstrate the long-term power and potential of trail races to positively impact the environment.

Stay tuned to Inside Dirt for next month’s topic!


Here are some other highlights from this month’s Symposium:

A group of spandex-sporting puddle jumpers had caused as much erosion and washout as natural wear and tear would have done in 10 years. This affects everything from the root systems, to ground animal habitats and even the watershed area at the basin of the Meramec river.
Beau Beard, The FARM

Trail running and racing might be one of the most effective ways to get more people immersed in the very environment that educates us, humbles us, speaks to us, and sustains us.
Nick Triolo, The Jasmine Dialogues

**Editors’ Choice
For anyone who has their eyes and ears open to the world around them as they traipse along, these events instill in them a sense of appreciation that is absolutely necessary in the development of the human spirit.
JS Esposito

Some trails cannot handle the number of runners that are participating in our events, race directors and trail advocates need to know what the limit is regardless of what the parks departments are putting in place.
Eric Eagan, #TrailsROC

As someone who spends the majority of their weeks working on cleaning up petroleum hydrocarbon leaks from above ground and underground storage tanks, I think there are bigger battles to fight than the environmental impact from trail races.
Siobhan Pritchard, Run Hard

For as our renewable energies are moving to not just a zero impact industry but rather a positive impact (i.e. – providing energy back) we as a running community must move towards leaving constructive impacts on our trails so the surrounding habitat remains as healthy and vibrant as the day the race was conceived.
Byron Wells

The fact that we paid our entry fees doesn’t give us the right to exclude or prevent others from using the same trails according to the normal rules of trail etiquette.
Jacob Wyatt, Sometimes I Run

We must preserve not only the trails we are running on but their surroundings which will inevitably be damaged by the growing number of participants and spectators.  Are you driving to your race? Are you alone in the car and where will you park?
Chantal Chlala, Fitness United

So what kind of impact does a trail race have on the environment?  Very little.  The environment was already impacted the day man decided to develop the area.
Jim Barke, What the Tri

Not only are people aware of their carbon footprint before the race, but they are aware of it during and after races as well. Many races are becoming cupless to cut down on paper waste and trash clean up after.
Rachel Kelley, Trail Wisp(erings)

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