For much of society, music festivals are a popular pastime in summer months. But for a trail-running introvert, thousands of people, loud noises, and no trails in sight is pure torture. Luckily, trail running festivals are popping up across the country. This weekend on June 2, 150 athletes will be attending The 5th Women’s Trail Festival in Chelsea, Que.
When founder Amanda Brandimore began running with Canada’s Natural Fitness Lab, she was inspired to create an event to encourage more women and girls to run trails in a supportive and non-competitive atmosphere.
The Women’s Trail Festival is not a race, but a day of education, inspiration, and celebration. The one-day festival includes technical skill sessions with experienced trail leaders, a group run, a delicious lunch, and inspiring speakers. Trail leaders and guest speakers include accomplished and elite ultra runners, an Olympian, Spartan athletes, triathletes, adventure racers, biathletes and cross-country skiers. The Festival consistently sells out–both in participants and those lining up to volunteer.
Trail running festivals are simply a reason for like-minded people to come together and celebrate what they love. They can be combinations of training, racing, films, food, and beer. The Squamish 50 weekend of races is referred to as a trail running festival, where the community comes together to race, cheer, volunteer, or simply party in the forest.
Camp Hardrock, which takes place in Silverton, Colorado the week before the Hardrock 100 race every July, is another great example. Opportunities for trail work, movie nights, Hardrock history sessions, panels, barbecues, volunteering, and running “Soft Rock” (sections of the Hardrock course throughout the week) light up the tiny mining town.
Venturing into the trails with like-minded people can also be considered your own trail running festival. If you’d like some structure to your plans, check out The Women’s Trail Festival on June 2, where women of the trail running community will come together to learn, share, be inspired, and celebrate their passion for running in nature.