Trailer Trash

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Why are trail races so long? (Read 335 times)


sugnim

    This might be a dumb question, but why are trail races typically much longer than road races?  Sometimes it seems that trail running is synonymous with ultra running.  There are road races everywhere from 1 mile to the marathon, but I notice that trail races tend to be much longer.  I think that the shortest trail race in my area is a half marathon, and most are much longer.  Any thoughts on this?  Thanks.

      We have a lot of short ones out here...  so maybe it's just a geographical thing? 

      xor


        Same here.  All kinds of distances.

         

        That said, the 50ks, 50 milers, and 100 milers may be more noticeable and you don't find a ton of road ultras.  There are a few, though... including two really famous ones - Comrades and Badwater.  (and a bigger-than-a-handful group of less famous ones).

         

          We run the whole gamut of distances where I am (southcentral Alaska) although winter trail races are more likely to be ultras. Fairbanks (interior) seems to have a greater variety of winter trail races than we do with more snowshoe races (snow is unreliable here). I might have to drive 1 hr to get to a race, but that's regardless of the distance.

          "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

            Lots of distances in the Indianapolis region, too. The DINO trail series offers a 5K and 15K option at each race; another organization (Planet Adventure, I think) does a handful of 5K/10Ks and their nighttime winter trail marathon also offers half and quarter distances (1-4 loops of a 6.x-mile trail). Several other trail HM and marathons, too. 

             

            And there's a 5.4-mile (roughly, billed as 5 miles but always over) trail race in March about a mile and a half from my house. That's the race that inspired me to switch from road to (primarily) trail.

            Jamezilla


            Follower of Forrest

              I see a range of races near me also...these are some thoughts I've had on this topic:

               

              If the pace is governed by terrain instead of distance, I think it might be tough to empty the tank on a trail 5k/10k.

              It would be difficult to do a lot of passing on narrow trails over a short distance.

              You experience more while moving at a slower pace.

              Theres not always convenient short loops on a trail.

              Trails are not always near a population of runners...I try to follow a rule of "it should take longer to run the race than to get to the race".

               

              Following these trail forums is making me have a distorted view on distance (oh, its only a short little marathon...not even a 50k).

              4/5 - Lost Brook Trail 10mi  1:15:42

              4/27 - Ironmaster's Challenge 50k

              6/21 - Manitou's Revenge 56mi


               

              LB2


                Very few trail ultras down in my neck of the woods, but no road ultras that I know of off hand. Well, I guess you could consider Rouge-Orleans some sort of hybrid race. It is run on the gravel road that runs atop the levee from Baton Rouge to New Orleans (126.2). I have no interest in running anything that is not on mostly single track trail, though. However, it does seem like the term "trail" and "ultra" are used interchangeably all the time.

                 

                We have a number of 10K to half marathon trail runs down here, but I rarely have much interest in anything less than a 50K. I just like being out there for hours...

                LB2

                NorthernHarrier


                  Go to the race calendar put out by Running in the USA.  Tons of shorter events.

                   

                  One reason anything shorter than 25k does not interest me--spacing. Too many people on a tight trail is just frustrating. At least in a longer event things can spread out.


                  sugnim

                    Wow!  I had no idea this was a geographical thing.  I always figured I was just a weakling on the trails.  (Well, I still might be.)  Thanks!

                    mtwarden


                    running under the BigSky

                      you've got the Mt Sentinel Hill Climb that is a mere 2.1 miles Big grin

                       

                      actually go the runners edge, racemontana.com and the winddrinkers sites (Bozeman area) and you'll find some "shorter" trail runs, but you are correct- in Montana most of the trail races are in the 13 mile+ range; I  think they figure the country is so beautiful why waste it on a short run Smile

                                                                                 2014 

                      HURL Fat Ass 50k  1/11- DNS sick :(

                      Zion Traverse 47 miles 4/5 DNS :( stress fracture in heel

                      Don't Fence Me In 30k 5/10


                      sugnim

                        you've got the Mt Sentinel Hill Climb that is a mere 2.1 miles Big grin

                         

                         

                         You're right!  I forgot about the M climb, probably because I didn't do it this year, which I believe was the 1st time it was held.  And the trails around here are indeed gorgeous.  I'm hoping to really work on my strength & balance training this winter & participate in some of the longer trail races in 2013.  (I was dead last in the Pengelly Double Dip this year & learned that trail miles are way harder than road miles!)

                          There's always Pengelly Single Dip...unless you need revenge on the Double.

                          mtwarden


                          running under the BigSky

                             You're right!  I forgot about the M climb, probably because I didn't do it this year, which I believe was the 1st time it was held.  And the trails around here are indeed gorgeous.  I'm hoping to really work on my strength & balance training this winter & participate in some of the longer trail races in 2013.  (I was dead last in the Pengelly Double Dip this year & learned that trail miles are way harder than road miles!)

                             

                            hope to see you this year at the Double Dip, maybe I can claim dead last this year Smile

                                                                                       2014 

                            HURL Fat Ass 50k  1/11- DNS sick :(

                            Zion Traverse 47 miles 4/5 DNS :( stress fracture in heel

                            Don't Fence Me In 30k 5/10


                            sugnim

                              There's always Pengelly Single Dip...unless you need revenge on the Double.

                               

                              The Double is a gorgeous course.  Plus, the growler says "Double Dip."  And the single is partly on the road.  And, yeah, there is that revenge thing you mentioned.  I'm looking forward to it!

                              MorganaRuns


                              Slower than you

                                We have a lot of short trail races here in the Athens/Atlanta area, but also many longer ones, so it's a good mix. The problem is, I don't really want to drive very far for a 5K or 10K trail race and the shortest drive for a race is about 45 minutes.

                                "Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man" - The Dude

                                 

                                Upcoming races: AthHalf: 10/20

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