Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Is the introduction of bigger prize purses at trail races a positive or negative thing overall?

Not to toot my own horn, but when I was awarded Trail Runner of the Year last year by the local trail running club, it was NOT because I was a fast runner or especially skilled at handling tough terrain, nope, none of that. did that toot my own horn? Anyways, the reason I was given this award was because of my attitude which, apparently embodies the essence of being a trail runner; getting out there, reaching for new goals but also just enjoying the experience, the nature and the other runners. Yup, I'm S.L.O.W...but once I'm out on the trails that doesn't matter to me as much as it usually does on the roads. I like to run trails fast but I know I'm not at the level of most of the other trail runners I've run with, and that is okay. I've had alot of trail runners pass me and, unlike road races, they always have encouraging words, a high five or even advice to help me through a rough patch. If trail races offered more cash to the winners I doubt they would take the time to say "hey" to us slow pokes.
I see trail running as the great equalizer; trail runners all love getting into the woods, running wild and free through single track, scrambling up steep hill sides and bombing down muddy slopes. Whether you do it fast or slow we're all out there with our childish enthusiasm loving every minute of it. To dangle big cash incentives as a carrot at the end of the tree branch takes something away from the purity of the sport, the reasons alot of us got into trail running.
For me, I'll answer the question posed with this: Introducing bigger prize purses at trail races is a negative thing overall. Not only will it take away from the spirit of running trail races but it would discourage alot of us from even participating in trail races. For alot of trail runners we're not there for the competition with other runners, we're out there to push and challenge our own limits and boundaries. It's about the race between the runner we are and the trail runner we hope to be.

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