For me, trail running was love at first sight. I spent four years as a high school distance runner and another four years as collegiate jack-of-all-trades runner (200m to 8k XC as well as 400 hurdles and steeplechase). Throughout that time, whatever my discipline, I hit trails whenever I could. Than, like some of you, I became an accidental convert to ultrarunning. After college, I moved to Washington, DC and went carless. Long story short, I looked for a trail running club, found the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club (VHRTC – a de facto ultra club), and my runs with them lead to my first ultra half a year later.
Through those six months and the years that followed, the VHTRC’s members guided me and encouraged me as a ultrarunner. Ultra and trail running clubs are great sources of knowledge and encouragement. They’re often great trail stewards, instructing new trail runners on responsible trail use as well as organizing trail service and maintenance opportunities. They also tend to be some of the best and most entertaining folks you’ll ever meet.
All of that’s why I’m looking to put together a list of trail running and ultrarunning clubs for iRunFar.com and to supplement Relentless Forward Progress. If you know of any, please leave a comment with the name of the club, what area it reasonably covers (for example, VHTRC would cover VA, DC, & MD even if members live throughout the country), and the club’s web address, if there is one. Also, feel free to share a couple words about the club for any potential members who read this.
While you’re at it, what have you enjoyed about your trail running or ultrarunning club(s)? Why would you recommend another runner join a club in general?