It's easy to get wrapped up in a isolated, romantic bubble when you think about what trail running really is. For most of us, trail running as a conception is a pastime we use to escape the trials and tribulations of modern life - both to increase our fitness and to spend some alone time in the natural serenity that the outdoors offers in abundance. But for some lucky - read: incredibly talented and hard-working individuals - trail running is a lifestyle. They compete and they train in order to compete. Our beloved hobby is well-established as a sport, even if we don't always think of it like that - and it's growing.
Salomon have today announced that they're increasing their support for five key races in the elite trail running calendar: the Maxi Race in Salomon’s hometown of Annecy, France; the Mont Blanc Marathon in Chamonix, France; the Swiss Alpine Marathon in Davos; the Glen Coe Skyline in Scotland; and the Ultra Pireneu in Spain.
“Our goal in expanding our support of these five races is to better promote trail running by attracting the top talent to race against each other more frequently, but also to turn the races into events that allow the trail running community to come together and celebrate the sport,” said Greg Vollet, Salomon’s Global Trail Running Sports and Community Marketing Manager. ”The elite athletes of our sport have provided us with countless moments of inspiration and, together with our Salomon brand content and community running events, helped grow the sport to a place that seemed unreachable just a few years ago. It’s only fair to reward their efforts.”
So what does this mean to you? Well, in the days leading up to these events, Salomon will stage How to Trail Run workshops, allowing amateurs to receive advice from elite international athletes. There will also be educational conferences on anti-doping control, including how positive controls can happen, the use of food supplements and the dangers of over indulgence on anti-inflammatories.
Now, although this is unlikely to affect whether or not you sign up for a race - most of us aren't going to win whether or not the elites are running, after all - we are definitely excited at the prospect of seeing pro athletes racing against each other more often. Particularly after Kilian Jornet announced his intention to attend this year's Glen Coe Skyline, and will attempt to break the world record for the Bob Graham Round - it currently stands at 13hr 53min, set by Billy Bland in 1982. That we have to see.
Trail running is fast becoming mainstream sport, with high-profile athletes attempting feats that were previously unheard of. If nothing else, 2017 is going to be an interesting year to watch.