What’s in a name?

When you hear the phrase ‘trail running’ I think it’s common to immediately picture some technical, singletrack trail that carves its way up a mountain. And that is trail running. But trail running is a lot more than that, too.


The definition of trail running can be pretty subjective. But these are my thoughts on the matter. A trail is any non-paved running surface. That can mean dirt, grass, gravel, and even sand.

These are all trails.

In my mind, I became a trail runner in the winter in 2013. I had just finished my first marathon, and I was ready for some unstructured running and a change of scenery. However, I’ve been a trail runner longer than that. I’ve pretty much been a trail runner since Barry and I moved in 2012. It was then that my running buddy, Kim, and I started running on a trail that is primarily crushed gravel. By my definition, that’s a trail. I wonder if Kim realizes she’s a trail runner, too. 🙂

What’s your definition of a trail?

5 thoughts on “What’s in a name?”

  1. I think for me a trail is closer to what you said in the beginning. It has a feel to it like you are disconnected from civilization, as opposed to a path (gravel and hard pack dirt with no elevation or technical nature at all).

  2. I would agree it’s a non-paved running surface. I am new to trail running though. The first picture looks like where I ride mountain bikes. It is definitely more technical than the NRT. All of those pictured offer an opportunity to run, which is my primary goal.

  3. Well, you know what the trails in Pocahontas are like for me! So that has been my definition. I admit I have secret envy for folks with paved rail to trails near them lol I like both for different reasons, but real trail running is a challenge like no other 🙂
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