It’s no mystery that trail runners are a unique bunch. Although they are friendly and inclusive, they don’t always fit in with regular society. Their idea of fun and entertainment is climbing a steep mountain while contemplating the meaning of life. They would rather be exploring the far-off wilderness than socializing at cocktail hour. If you want to make friends with a trail runner, consider avoiding these questions.
1. It took you two hours to run 4K?
Usually followed by, “I thought you were fast. What happened?” Trail runners know that vert is real, and the terrain often dictates how much ground is covered. On technical trails, distance doesn’t matter.
2. Do you go out alone?
3. Did you know you can take the gondola up that mountain?
The trail runner did know this fun fact. They also chose to climb the mountain instead.
4. Are you hungry?
Just assume yes, always.
5. What’s your pace?
Trail runners know that effort matters more than pace. For more information, please see number 9.
6. Aren’t you scared of animals?
A trail runner is likely to be more fearful of staying inside all day, than coming across the odd bear.
7. Have you heard of The Barkley Marathons?
Unless the trail runner has been living under a rock for the last decade, the answer will be yes.
8. Usually followed by, “You should do it.”
The trail runner will not always answer yes to the above.
9. Was that your PB?
This question is irrelevant for any distance on the trails. Even for a trail race that is the exact same, weather or course changes can alter experiences on the trail. As a general rule, one cannot compare any distance on the trails. If you want to find out about one’s 10K PB, ask a roadie.
10. What’s your idea of fun?
The answer is blood, sweat, and tears in the forest for hours. Also known as trail running.
11. Why, though?
Unless you want to talk to this trail runner for the next nine hours, avoid asking why they do what they do.
12. Where do you go to the bathroom?
There is no point in asking this question, as the answer is exactly what you’re guessing.
13. What do you think about?
You may receive a blank stare when asking this. The trail runner will be thinking, “Nature, of course.” Or if they’re an ultrarunner they may be thinking about the sweet release of death.