There’s nothing quite like running on a trail. I love sprinting through the woods as fast as I can, just trying to avoid all the roots and rocks littering the ground. It requires fast thinking and good instincts to avoid a misstep that could lead to twisting an ankle, and I just find it incredibly exciting and invigorating.
I’ve run the DC Cherry Blossom 10-mile race several times, and when the trees are in bloom it’s a gorgeous run… But it’s still just one for after the other on pavement. The scenery changes, but each step you take is just like the last, and that can’t help but get monotonous.
This came up because I was talking with a few of friends about maybe signing up for a Ragnar Relay later this year, and the debate was whether to do the road or trail version. I’m emphatically in favor of the trail race. They both have you covering ~200 miles in two days with a team of 8-12 people, one runner at a time. But the road race has the runner going from point A to point B on roads and bike paths while the rest of the team shuttles to the next stop in a van to prep for changing runners. The trail race has everyone staying at a central campsite, and the runners head out on a trail that loops back to the starting point. There are multiple trails of varying difficulty and everyone on the team eventually does each of them. But while the runner is out, instead of sitting in a van the rest of the team is hanging out around a campfire.
Which would you choose?