If the pronunciations in good english wander, the outcome remains the same ... What is commonly called "trail" is a discipline in full expansion, all over the world. Many received ideas sometimes alter the exact definition of this practice, which was already common decades ago. Even if the explosion of this discipline was made possible by the legendary "mountain races", it should not be believed that it is only practiced in the mountains.
Nature as a playground
When some athletic practitioners wanted to abandon the hard tracks and roads to counter their monotony, trail running proved to be a perfect solution for these athletes concerned with the universe in which they stride.
Trail running has always symbolized running in a natural environment with the only obstacles being the roughest elements. Rocks, snow, pebbles, sand, everything goes there and each path is objectively a trail running route.
If we tend to summarize this sport as endurance races in the mountains, it is crucial to understand that the dimension of this discipline goes far beyond. Seaside, high mountain, deserts or lowland forests trails are readily adaptable into circuits and segments!
For ordinary people, trail running can be symbolized by the most legendary ultra trail races. The increasingly numerous reports have made it possible to discover athletes who are often deified to the rank of extraterrestrials, able to line up the kilometers of climb on paths that are increasingly difficult to cover.
Thus, runners such as Kilian Jornet, François d’Haene and Emelie Forsberg are often at the head of legendary races. Among them, the UTMB (ultra-trail of Mont-Blanc) or the Diagonale des Fous run every year on Reunion Island.
Open to everyone
Aware of the enthusiasm generated over the years, the organizers of the various races around the world and the leaders of trail running federations and associations wished to democratize their discipline. If you want to put on a bib, there is no doubt that you will have the choice between the races and even the tests! The difference in height, distance and course characteristics are constantly changing with a single goal: to allow everyone to have fun and, as always, to surpass themselves.
Brands go for it
If trail running has become more democratic in terms of distances and difficulties, this change is also being made within brands specializing in outdoor sports. A few years ago, these brands took advantage of this windfall, even though they themselves were directly responsible for the mass evolution of the sport. Thus, brands frequently offer a range of products that can allow novice and professional alike to practice their discipline. There is no lack of technicality and originality of the products. The trail begins in fact in a t-shirt and adapted shoes. But by dint of progress, a regular's equipment will be supplemented by a headlamp, poles, restraint accessories or even his passport for international races!
While we very often hear that running is a minimalist sport in terms of equipment, it is important to understand how essential it is in the search for comfort and performance in trail running. Getting away from it all along the trails will not be without comfort and pleasure. From head to toe, it is essential to feel good. With quality equipment, you will enjoy the activity of trail running in the best possible way. Go, breathe and enjoy!