Every trail runner knows well the feeling of rushing endorphins after a nice long physically demanding trail run over technical and high elevation terrain. Most runners live for that feeling, craving that after work daily dose of physical activity that demands so much attention you forget completely about work, the bills and life in general. The feeling of maneuvering over and around boulders, hurdling trees and scrambling rock slabs is like no other. It’s simple and it’s pure joy. Yet many doubt that trail runners enjoy their runs as much as a hiker does when moving at a slower pace. Where did this misunderstanding or “myth” come from?
For those whom have never tried running, they can’t fully realize how heightened ones senses become as they force their body to react quicker; no longer concentrating on the one or two steps, but rather on 5 to 10 steps ahead. Instead of hiking 10 to 15 miles in a day, a runner can cover 20 to 30 miles or more in a single day. This enables a trail runner to see and take in more within a shorter stretch of time.
Not only does a faster pace enable a runner to see more trail, but it also gives an appreciation for how a mountain tests, not only endurance, but also will power. It takes a lot of heart and a little crazy to run constantly uphill to a summit above the trees. Getting to the summit or the destination is just that more thrilling when you’ve put your body through the wringer. There is no feeling alike to standing on top of a mountain with muddy sneakers, aching muscles and a good sweat. This not to say that hiking doesn’t get one to the point of being muddy and sweaty… it most definitely does. However, there is a different type of muscle ache that a runner feels as to a hiker. It is hard to describe in any other way than it’s a good pain.
To say that a trail runner does not enjoy their hike and the true beauty of the environment around them is an unfair statement, and just plainly a myth. For those who may disagree, I dare you to strap on those sneakers and head for the hills. Start small, then go big and conquer that mountain- trail running style.