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3481 Views 8 Replies Latest reply: Nov 25, 2011 5:04 PM by Joseph Tree
Francessmom Pro 177 posts since
Feb 11, 2009
Currently Being Moderated

Nov 14, 2011 10:51 AM

Trail Race Ettiquette

I just finished my first organized/competitive trail run.  It was at a state park on remote trails with lots of steep uphills and downhills.  It was not a huge race - maybe 300 people.  The fall leaf clutter made the trails a bit tricky with lots of hidden rocks and roots to trip over.  Everyone started out in a big group but as the race progressed it really thinned out.  Several times I was alone on the trail or could only see one or two other racers. I saw several runners take nasty spills. My question is, when a fellow competitor trips and falls or seems incapacitated (vomiting on the side of a steep incline!) what should I do?  I always stopped and asked - Are you okay?  Each time the response was -  I'm alright (Thank God!).  But I was thinking that if the person was really hurt what should I do?  I am not so competitive that I would leave them alone just to finish myself.  But during trail races there is not always easy access to aid.  I must admit that I was also thinking about myself too and what would happen if I was injuried out in the woods and unable to finish. Any thoughts or experiences would be appreciated.



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  • BOSNPM We're Not Worthy 2,482 posts since
    Nov 20, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Nov 14, 2011 11:07 AM (in response to Francessmom)
    Trail Race Ettiquette

    I think you did right, if they are hurt badly you have to deal with it if trained, if not go for help.

  • 6xchampsfan Pro 184 posts since
    Jul 4, 2011
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    2. Nov 14, 2011 2:46 PM (in response to Francessmom)
    Trail Race Ettiquette

    BOSNPM great answer.

  • skypilot77 Legend 1,077 posts since
    Dec 16, 2009
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    3. Nov 14, 2011 2:56 PM (in response to Francessmom)
    Trail Race Ettiquette

    In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets.


    matthew 4:12

  • protometal Pro 124 posts since
    Aug 31, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Nov 14, 2011 4:24 PM (in response to skypilot77)
    Re: Trail Race Ettiquette

    The good thing is, if you're running in the woods, you and others can run for help if necessary.


    I had a trail race a couple weeks ago and I took a tumble, but was (mostly) fine. There was this other poor guy who fell earlier and later, he passed me up a while after I fell. He again wiped out just in front of me. I stopped but he assured me he was okay. He seemed a bit hurt, but I think he was more frustrated about wiping out repeatedly.


    Some trail runs are treacherous, particularly in the fall when leaves cover roots and rocks. This race was on a mountain bike course and was very hilly, rooty and rocky...


    As for what would happen if someone was severly hurt, not sure. I would hope the state park would have an ATV or something to get someone out of there if needed. I don't know if many trail race organizers think that out.


    "Whether You Think You Can or Can't, You're Right"-- Henry Ford

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  • bud phillips Amateur 8 posts since
    Dec 31, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Nov 18, 2011 1:59 PM (in response to Francessmom)
    Re: Trail Race Ettiquette

    You did the right thing.  If you start to run longer trail races (50K, 50M, 100K, and 100M), I think that you will find many trail runners are very willing to stop and help other runners in difficulty.  It can be someone who has fallen, run out of water, throwing up, dizziness, or many other issues.  They will almost always ask if a runner sitting by the trail needs help, offer electrolyte tablets for someone cramping, offer water or a gel to someone who needs help and still has a long way to go to the next aid station, offer ace bandages if they have a sprain, etc.  You may be surprised at how many trail runners will give up their own race to help someone else - I remember two front runners who carried (!!!) another front runner almost a mile to the nearest aid station after she suffered a compound fracture of the ankle.  others have stayed with vomiting runners to get them to the nearest aid station, or two others helped another with a broken wrist from a fall to the nearest aid station that was five miles down the singletrack.  These runners are my heroes and heroines.


    With aid station 5-10 miles apart and the ability to get aid quickly is limited by singletrack trails and topography, and smaller groups of competitors (300 is a big trail race), trail runners generally do a good job of taking care of each other.  Welcome to the trail runniing family!


    Geezer Runner

  • Old Coyote Legend 256 posts since
    Apr 9, 2011
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Nov 19, 2011 6:55 AM (in response to Francessmom)
    Trail Race Ettiquette

    A local trail race promoter in Denver includes "Help your fellow runner" in the official rules.

  • NancyLFreeman Legend 243 posts since
    Feb 17, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Nov 19, 2011 8:54 AM (in response to Old Coyote)
    Trail Race Ettiquette

    I did a five-point landing, nose first, at a trail run this summer, and about five people stopped to help me, including a woman who offered use of her cell phone.  It really meant a lot to me in terms of morale and getting on my feet and finishing the race.



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  • Joseph Tree Legend 378 posts since
    Oct 22, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Nov 25, 2011 5:04 PM (in response to Francessmom)
    Re: Trail Race Ettiquette

    I recently finished re reading Born to Run and am reminded that one of McDougall's theses is that one of the key aspects of the greatest runners (writing specifically about ultra athletes) is that they are marked by a greatness of soul and humanity which contributes to their depth of running ability.  They certainly modeled deep caring and concern for their fellow runners.

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    07/29/2012 Marsh Creek Raptor Run 10 Mile Trail Race

    07/15/2012 Quadzilla 15K Trail Run, Trexlertown, PA 1:37 (2011, 1:49)

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    02/26/2012 Ugly Mudder 7.2 Mile Trail Run, Reading, PA 1:20

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    10/08/2011 Lehigh Gap Nature Center 10K Trail Run (6.38 miles), 59:20 (10/07/2012)

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