Five athletes who have used off-road running to excel on the track
The IAAF World Athletics Championships begins today in Doha so what better time to acknowledge the part that trail running plays in the preparation of some of the world’s top athletes? The athletes in the 10-day event may be best known for running around in circles on a rubber track or, in some cases, on the roads - but take a look at the social media accounts of many of them and you will see them running off-road.
The following list is by no means exhaustive, of course. But here are just five of the trail runners we will see on the track in Doha.
The man recognised as one of the most exciting distance running prospect in the world after he won double European gold aged 18 last summer was spotted running on trails around St Moritz just two weeks ago.
Yet the Norwegian picked out as the most likely to upset the Africans over 1500m and 5000m in Doha is perhaps best suited to the flat. He can be seen in this video in 2017 struggling in the incredibly steep Stolztzekleiven mountain race in 2017. He went to finished 30th after collapsing near the top.
The coverstar for Trail Running’s December-January issue last year will run in the 5000m and 10,000m in Doha for Britain. The Scot regularly runs off-road and told us she moved to where she lived because the trails were on the doorstep.
Living in beautiful Colorado, it’s no surprise that world steeplechase champion Emma Coburn loves trail running. As the American explained in this video below about her and trail running: “There’s nothing better than starting a run in the morning in a little crisp air and the leaves are falling and it’s just you and the trail and your breathing, and that’s all. “
The German, who is entered for both the 3000m and 5000m in Doha, posted on Instagram in August about how she was swapping the track for the woods of the Swabian Alps for a week before heading off back to the mountains. The European under-23 10,000m champion earlier wrote on Instagram of her love for the mountains, calling the mountainous Allgäu region of Germany her second home.
The American, who will run in the 5000m for USA at the Worlds, has an Instagram page full of pictures of her running on trails. Her bio reads: “Heart in the mountains & canyons”. She describes her base of Flagstaff, Arizona, as a “a really special place” in an interview posted on mapmyrun.com, adding: “It’s one of the best running hubs in the world. You have people from all over the United States and so many other countries coming to train in Flagstaff, so I feel incredibly grateful to call it home. There are endless miles of running trails and dirt roads.”
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To the usually unseen people who take care of / maintain trails & dirt roads: runners, hikers, & bikers everywhere appreciate you!🙏🏼 This winter and spring have been especially snowy, rainy, and wet in Flagstaff - making trails and dirt roads quite a mess, but you’d never really know it because of how quickly people tend to them✨ . This trail has been one of my favorites since moving to Flagstaff. Lucky to be able to access it from my house and log miles here every week:) It’s week ✌🏼 of the @uarunning #StartTogether challenge and if you’re wanting to find a new route to help you get out the door, check out @uamapmyrun route finder! Let me know what you find and/or what your favorite route is like! . 📷: @rabbitwolfcreative 2o17