Have YOU ever wanted to lead a trail run? Here's some tips for a fun and successful day.
Set a Time and Place
The first step to hosting a successful trail run is to know when and where you are going. Decide on a trail or event of your choice. Present a few options for available days, get feedback, and schedule it! Many people use social media calendar options to create an event so people can reply or RSVP. Include information like trail difficulty, radio channels, gear to bring, and time frame. Be sure to schedule a meetup time and a departure time, so there is a buffer time for delayed folks. Set the expectations early.
Do Your Homework Beforehand
Setting a time an place is easy, but you will need to do some prep work beforehand. Scouting the area or trail is paramount. If you are familiar with the area, this should be easy. Pre-run the trail as needed, and be sure there are no surprises like changing obstacles, closed areas etc. Knowing exactly what to expect will reduce risk on many levels, and safety is the name of the game. Remember...YOU are the Trail Leader, so people will be counting on you for direction at all times. As the leader, your responsibilities are just beginning!
Prior to the meetup, be sure you are geared up, as you are the leader. Put together a checklist of gear you will need for the trip, depending on location and terrain. Be over-prepared for anything. There are basics that should always be on hand:
- Recovery Gear
- First Aid Supplies
- Any Trail-Specific Needs
Day of Event: Meetup
If you are meeting at a common spot, like a gas station or public area, greet folks as they come, and remind them of the departure time. If you are meeting at the trailhead, get ready to be the Trail Leader! Round up the group for some pre-run to-do items:
You are the Trail Leader, so be clear on rules of the run. Make sure your group understands what to expect, risks involved, your rules for the trail and what to do in any specific situation. The ultimate goal is to have fun, so have a plan to keep everyone together and organized to make the most out of your event. Talk to them about the buddy system: always keep your eye on who's in front and behind, and never leave anyone behind. This is also a good time to go over any expected obstacles that may need a spotter. If you have unexperienced drivers, let them know specifically what spotting commands mean, including hand signals. If you are not comfortable being a spotter, be sure someone on the trip is.
Final Prep and Gear Check
Once announcements, rules and plan are done, go over any last checklists as needed:
- Gear Checks
- Radio Channel Checks
- Air Down Tires as needed
Being as prepared and communicative as possible from the beginning is the best way to host and start a successful and fun trail run. Load up, head out, get a radio check and have fun! YOU set the pace! Remember - Pack Out What You Pack In! Leave nothing but tracks and take nothing but photos!
Expect the Unexpected
Remember - you can be as prepared as possible, but sometimes things can still go awry. Breakdowns, flat tires, rigs getting stuck...you never know what will happen. You are the Trail Leader, so have a great run, but be ready for anything. The group will look to you for guidance, and will appreciate your leadership. Now get out there and explore!
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