serious running: trail running, races, shoe reviews

Why Trail Running is becoming more Popular

posted by Chris Barber

trail-runners-runningRichard Burgunder recently published a great article about the rise in popularity of Trail Running named, “Trail Running:  Racing Towards the top in Popularity.”  In it he states that Trail Running is, “…considered the sixth most popular extreme sport s in the USA, only behind skating, skateboarding, paintball, climbing, and snowboarding.”  I’m not sure what type of skating this refers to, I assume roller skating, which I don’t consider very extreme.  Skateboarding and snowboarding are both board sports enjoyed by a different type of extreme athlete than the Trail Runner and Mountain Biker types and paintball is more of a game so I don’t consider it a sport.  Which leaves Trail Running as the 2nd most popular extreme sport behind rock climbing!  He goes on to say that in 2006 there were 6.7 million regular Trail Runners in the United States and at the current pace Trail Running will soon become the most popular extreme sport in the United States.

That is why we started National Trail Running Day last year with over 5,000 trail runners participating in events across the United States.  Plan an event, register it on the website and mark your calender for August 21st to do some serious Trail Running this year.  When we started National Trail Running Day some avid Trail Runners didn’t like the idea, citing the purity of the sport, being alone running on the trails and exploring paths on their own.  While we understand, we at don’t agree; we think everyone should trail run, the more the merrier.  There are enough trails out there for all of us!  Share and review your favorite trails on our Trail Running listings and help your fellow Trail Runners get the most out of this awesome extreme sport.  We hope that the rise in popularity will lead to better Trail Running information, new gear to help make Trail Running more enjoyable, and an overall better social experience.

So why has Trail Running become so popular?  Well, first off, recently there has been a Running Boom Across America which we determined was due to the poor economy and translates well into the boom of Trail Running.  Many runners get tired of running the same routes and surfaces of road running and have ventured out to the trails for a new experience.  The transition from road running to trail running is simple, using many of the same techniques as running on roads.  Another reason is that Trail Running is easy to access; all you need is a trail.  While many trails have restrictions on mountain biking or horseback riding, virtually no trails exclude runners from running on them.  Even if trails do have restrictions on running then just walk fast if come across another hiker.

So what are you waiting for?  Get off the road and go Trail Running!


  1. Kenley Jones says:

    Very good article. I have recently gotten out in the trails where I live. I didnt know that they even existed. Two main reasons why I love them is 1) easier on my feet as far as the surface. Dirt and leaves provide a softer cushion than of its rival pavement. 2) Prevents burnout with running all together seeing new things and new routes surrounded by beauty. Thanks for this article.

  2. AshleyR says:

    The way I look at it the more trail runners we have the more income for trail systems. That will benefit everyone, runners and hikers. All sports go through a growth surge where the old school people get bent out of shape about the popularity instead of embracing it. This has happened to other sports I’ve been a part of. There are always pro’s and con’s to growth of a sport. Usually the pro’s outweigh the con’s. If it makes trail running more available to me then I’m thrilled about that.

  3. I agree that trail running is enjoying a boom in interest. The numbers of new trail runners are growing and local races are blossoming. I think it’s all part of a general expansion of our horizons. People who used to think they were too fat or old to run are getting into it in increasing numbers, and people who thought trail running was too extreme are discovering the joys of going off the road and away from the crowds. Young female trail/adventure runners are really the growth segment. Rails to Trails efforts are opening new places across the country to go off-road and public money is helping to improve access and public knowledge. It’s a great time to be a trail runner!

  4. [...] Running industry where they found that 4.8 million Americans Trail Ran last year.  We wrote about the growth of trail running a couple of weeks ago, those numbers were based off of Richard Burgunder article which was taken [...]