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Why Trail Racing?
You may wonder why bother with a trail race. Heading out on a trail instead of pavement is appealing for so many reasons. Escaping into the woods or meadows gives your mind a relaxing experience that a road run often cannot, and a trail's softer surface gives your body a break, too. Incorporating trail racing to your race schedule will give you the incentive to vary training, get out of a rut and add new skills to your running tool box. But be prepared for some distinct differences.
Trail races are generally low-key affairs. The decreased emphasis on times as well as top runners and first-timers all milling about together at the starting line offer a unique camaraderie often lacking in road racing. The difficulty of trail running courses and the variability in distances gives you "permission" to run a bit slower than you would on the roads and this can help you relax and focus on other aspects of racing, such as tactics, learning to manage your effort and learning to run by feel, regardless of what your watch may be telling you. The relative isolation of the trails also fosters an environment where trail runners tend to look out for each other to offer guidance and support. These races also attract individuals with a light hearted approach to life so don't be surprised to see tutus, kilts and the like on trail.
Why trail racing you ask? Because it's fun!