You Might Be a Trail Runner If...
What is the difference between a trail runner and a road runner? Here is an easy to administer self-test to help you answer this question for yourself. Simply add the points indicated in brackets for each "yes" answer, and score yourself at the end.
- Which would you rather run? The "Boston Marathon" in under three hours (0); the "Pike's Peak Marathon" in under five hours (+1); the "Hardrock 100", who cares about the time? (+2)
- Do you regularly encounter animals which could maim or kill you such as elk, bear, cougar, or rattlesnake (dogs don't count; cows count, but only if you've actually been threatened by one)? (+1)
- Which do you fear more on runs? Getting shot by hunters (+1), getting shot up by thugs (-1)?
- Do you regularly return from runs bleeding? (+1)
- Are all your running socks brown? (+1)
- Have you ever gotten dirt in your mouth or up your nose from a fall? (+1)
- Have you ever taken a detour in a race to top a peak or just to "see what's over the next ridge"? (+1)
- Do you time your workouts? (-1) Do you record the times? (-1)
- Do you keep a written PR list? (-1) Is it publicly accessible i.e., pinned to the wall of your office, or posted on an Internet webpage? (-1)
- Have you ever missed a meeting at work because that loop was "a little longer than you thought"? (+1)
- Have you ever had to pull cactus thorns out of your shoe, or a yucca spine out of your shin? (+1)
- On most of your runs, do you often have to decide whether to cross against the red light? (-1)
- How long does it take a fresh pair of shoes to lose that "new" look? Two weeks (-1), one week (0), three days (+1), one day (+2)
- Have you ever torn your shirt, shorts, or flesh on a barbed-wire fence? (+1)
- Do you regularly carry a street map on runs? (+1) A topo map? (+2)
- Do you regularly wear gaiters or dump large amounts of dirt from your shoes? (+1)
- Have you ever gotten lost enough on a run that someone had to come looking for you? (+1)
- Are there times you can't go on your favorite run because of mud or high water? (+1)
- Can you pee anywhere you want on runs? (+1)
Less than 7 points: A true road runner; may your PRs forever quicken.
From 7 to 12 points: A trail runner in spirit; now get the hell out of the city and move to where there are some trails!
More than 12 points: A hardcore trail runner; we can almost see your bloody knees from here!
See also .
Run The Planet thanks Blake P. Wood for the permission to reprint his "Trail Runner's Test" message, originally sent on Saturday January 28, 1995 to the ultra(at)dartcms1.dartmouth.edu mailing list.