Out There: The 10 Commandments of Trail Running

Illustration: Matt Collins

Go forth and be muddy, my friends. The Endurance Gods doth command.

At first glance, trail running feels like a wild frontier, populated by grizzly bearded runners and their less-hairy animal friends. But even in this muddy Shangri-La, there exists a healthy set of rules, conventions and norms. Runners new to the trail scene will be happy to hear the Endurance Gods have handed down their commandments to keep everyone happy, safe and delightfully muddy.

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I. Honor thy big splashes, for trail runners do not tiptoe around mud puddles.

II. Thou shalt not blast loud music in thy earbuds, lest thou be cursed out by the person trying to pass.

III. Thou shalt not curse the rock that tripped you, for it was there first. Pick up your feet.

IV. Thou shalt always carry toilet paper, for Charmin never ends in an awkward conversation with your doctor.

V. Thou shalt watch out for snakes and mountain lions, for this ain’t Central Park. Head on a swivel, city slicker.

VI. Thou shalt not declare, “This is the last hill,” for that is a lie. There is always one more hill around the bend.

VII. Remember thy bar wrapper, and pack it out. Nobody likes a Littering Leslie.

VIII. Thou shalt rub some dirt on it. The Endurance Gods do not care that you skinned your knee— scars are a badge of honor.

IX. Thou shalt check thy ego, or tree roots and steep hills will be happy to do it for you.

X. Thou shalt keep a minimum of six cold beers in thy car, for trail runners are a friendly bunch and craft beers taste better in trailhead parking lots.

The unofficial 11th Commandment: Thou shalt add to the list. Tweet us at @RunCompetitor using the hashtag #TrailCommandments.

Go forth and be muddy, my friends. The Endurance Gods doth command.

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About The Author:

Susan Lacke does 5Ks, Ironman Triathlons, and everything in between to justify her love for cupcakes (yes, she eats that many). In addition to writing for Competitor, she serves as Resident Triathlete for No Meat Athlete, a website dedicated to vegetarian endurance athletes. Susan lives and trains in Phoenix, Arizona with three animals: A labrador, a cattle dog, and a freakishly tall triathlete boyfriend. She claims to be of sound mind, though this has yet to be substantiated by a medical expert. Follow her on Twitter: @SusanLacke

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