What is trail running? The earliest evidence of organized running is from around 3800 BC in Egypt. Cross country running started as long-distance running over open country not using roads or paths. In the early 19th century a form of cross country known as "paper chasing" or "hare and hounds" became popular. The sport increased in popularity during the 19th century. Since then cross country running has become more specialized and usually takes place over relatively short courses on grass fields and parks. In 1995 the British Athletic Federation approved a formal definition for trail running events. In essence this amounted to any race over footpaths and bridle paths which are marked on Ordinance Survey maps as public rights of way and are therefore highways to which the public have unrestricted access on foot. Other tracks and pathways from which motorized traffic is excluded can be considered as trails provided the landowner has given permission for access.