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Trail Running Gains Amazing Popularity

Maybe it’s the economy.  Maybe it’s technology overload.  Maybe people are figuring out what some of us have known for years.

More and more people are running on the many trails that you might not even know exist in these parts.  Unlike road runners who keep track of pace, heart rate and distance to exacting figures, being on a trail in the woods you just don’t worry about that stuff.  Or anything else for that matter.  Your GPS doesn’t work in some of these places.   Or your cell phone.  The surface is softer (in most spots) and often requires concentration so you don’t trip over obstacles like roots, rocks or your own feet!   You often see wildlife.  You get to stomp in mud, cross rivers and go up and down hills.  Some that are so big and steep that it’s scary (the climb up and the rapid, out of control descent).  For those of us who love this activity, effort isn’t measured in miles but in hours on your feet. 

Stu on the trail at Dances With Dirt-Wisconsin
photo by Mark McCaslin

Proof that trail running is catching on quickly comes from the races held in woodsy places.  Running Fit Trail Marathon/Half Marathon is sold out over a month before the event near Pinckney (over 1000 competitors).  Dances With Dirt sells out in less than a day for the 5-person 100k relay for the annual romp through the swamp around Hell, Michigan (over 400 teams, plus a couple hundred solo 50k and 50 mile runners).  The event is so popular that it has expanded to other states.  DWD Gnaw Bone, Indiana (there really is a Gnaw Bone,’s near Bloomington).  DWD Devils’ Lake Wisconsin, and DWD Green Swamp in Florida.  There are many other races in and around Michigan that take you on the trails. 

 The best part about trail running is just getting out there and away from the day-to-day stress of life.  You don’t have to go that far to find these places.  There are plenty near Flint.  Personally, I like the Hogbacks and also the trails near Hadley.  Probably because I really like hills.

If you want to know more about crazy events like Dances With Dirt, check out their web site:

You can still sign up as a solo runner!

winter sunrise on the Hadley trail
photo by Stu Allen

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