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The 20 trail running personalities

Which trail runner are you?

They say trail running is a team sport. We are able to accomplish our goals and push our minds and bodies with the help of the trail running community. When trail runners join forces, especially for a long adventure, various personality traits can surface. Anecdotal research concludes the 20 personality types of trail running. Chances are, you have run with one, or all of the types. Which one(s) are you?

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Photo: Tory Scholz

1. The Event Planner

The team captain of logistics determines which trails the group will be exploring. They use their brilliant abilities to co-ordinate time, trailhead, route, and often sends out a gear list to the group via Facebook messenger.

2. The Dropper

The Dropper is not only very fit and strong, they don’t have time to regroup and wait for others. If they do wait for you on the top of a climb, they are ready to go the second you approach the summit. They are not a bad person, they just need to work on their patience skills.

3. The Muler

The Muler is a team player. They will wear a 20L Salomon pack and carry extra snacks for everyone. Even though trail races don’t allow pacers to mule for a registered runner, group trail runs embrace having a friendly donkey running beside them.


4. The Liability

For this human, a 50K trail adventure sounds really fun, but their longest run is 5K. They think the 10 essentials is the newest hit on Netflix. If The Liability isn’t careful, they could end up as number five (see below).

5. The Bonker

The Liability could easily turn into The Bonker at kilometre 12. The Bonker often neglects the 200 calories per hour principle, and forgets how fuelling properly can change everything.

6. The Minimalist

The Minimalist may also be the Liability and/or The Bonker. The Minimalist carries nothing. Essentials are too much to think about. They love their handheld and hate hydration packs. They rely on The Muler, and pretty much everyone else on the group run.

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7. The Segment Chaser

Few things in life are more annoying than when a fellow trail runner sprints away from you mid-conversation to get the CR on some segment. Strava can be really fun, but leave the CRs for when you’re running solo.

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8. The Motivator

The Motivator is equivalent to the team’s cheerleader. They are often the most positive one of the group. Depending on group dynamics, The Motivator can be your team’s greatest asset, or the most annoying person on the trails. The best motivators not only bring the hype, they remind you to keep moving even though you want to stop and feel sorry for yourself. They might even bring you a costume.

9. The Sandbagger

The Sandbagger claims they are out of shape, but they are really at peak fitness and have tapered for the group run. They will run every section without even touching the ground. The rest of the group secretly despises them and their fresh legs.

10. The Influencer

Every group run needs a personal photographer. Ideally this person is Insta-famous and will get you hundreds more followers by the time you’ve had that post-run beer. 

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11. The Navigator

Not to be confused with The Event Planner, The Navigator knows the route the group has decided on and is the expert at every junction. If you’re a number four, The Navigator is your best friend. They will help you with maps, GPS devices, and keep the whole group where they are supposed to be.

12. The Roadie

If you’re wondering who the person wearing the short shorts and singlet is at the trailhead, it’s The Roadie. At first, they are super keen to maintain their tempo road pace, but then they will curse themselves when their run doesn’t go according to plan. They are still learning about the difference between pace and effort, and also how to carefully walk any technical downhill. Sometimes The Roadie is disguised as number six.

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13. The Over-sharer

In the world of trail snacks, sharing is caring. But for The Over-sharer, every other trail runner is their therapist. We know that trail running is better than therapy, but The Over-sharer takes this to a new level. For them, here is no such thing as TMI on the trails.

14. The Statistician

At any moment, The Statistician knows exactly how far you have run, how much you have ascended and descended, and how many metres it is to the next intersection.

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15. The Over-thinker

The Over-thinker is like a nagging parent who questions every decision you make on the singletrack. Just as the group decides to turn left, the Over-thinker wants to know if you are sure.

16. The Naturalist

If this is a casual group run, The Naturalist is like having your own museum tour guide. They know the history of every geological formation and bird chirp. If you’re really lucky, they can even help The Bonker get some extra fuel by explaining the nutrition value of every plant on the trail.

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17. The Comedian

Trail running is hilarious, and The Comedian turns every disaster into a stand up comedy show. Warning: This personality type may not jibe with number seven, 12, and 15.

18. The Small Bladder

Finally, the group is ready to go, and 10 minutes in, The Small Bladder needs to stop and go to the bathroom. This person could be pregnant, or just genetically gifted. Although they feel bad for their need to stop often, they often make up for it by also playing the role of number one or number nine.

19. The Gear Junkie

Why be a dirtbag trail runner when you can be fancy and decked out in Salomon gear? When not judging you for wearing Old Navy hand-me-downs versus, The Gear Junkie is like your own personal shopper. The Gear Junkie loves the latest and greatest swag, and will tell you every single detail about the technical fabric on your body.


20. The Know-it-all

Do you even trail run, brah? The Know-it-all loves namedropping and telling you about every single trail race and UTMB qualifier on the planet.

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