Spring Fever

For me, early spring has always been a time of anticipation, optimism, and excitement. The days feel long again, the sun shines down with an intensity that isn’t felt in the winter months, and everything and everyone seems to wake up and begin to prepare for what lies ahead. As much as I love winter, by this time of year I am always ready for the excitement of spring. This year is certainly no exception.

On a personal level I have so many things I’m optimistic and excited about right now. This is the first edition of a yet-unnamed, bi-weekly column that I’ll be writing here on iRunFar. I’ve always loved writing, but I have a hard time feeling creative and productive in my writing unless I have assignments to keep me in practice. I think having an assignment “due” every couple weeks will be the perfect dynamic to keep me in practice, and to keep some interesting ideas flowing from my mind to the keyboard. Or so we can hope.

I’m also at a place in which I’m more optimistic and excited about my coming months of running than I have been in quite some time. Despite having just completed a 350-mile race a few weeks ago, I feel as though I’ve had an extended break from running since mid-December, and I feel this is just what my mind and body needs. Almost all of the running I have done since December has been on snow, usually in snowshoes, at a very slow pace, and often walking. When I lace up the shoes and head out for my first post Iditarod Trail Invitational run sometime in the next few days, I suspect that running will feel more alien to me than it has any time in the last few years. With this unfamiliarity fueling me, I will get to come back to running in a place which best suits my mind, body, and spirit at this time, and not based nearly as much on previous ideas about what running is to me. I think of it as a chance to realign myself with my running, and this really excites me.

When I get back into the habit of running every day, I will undoubtedly begin to shift much of my focus to preparation for the Hardrock 100. I don’t know what’s more exciting for me, the notion of taking part in this event, or all the runs I’ll “need” to do to prepare for it. I’ve always preferred really steep, rugged mountain terrain. I think training on this type of terrain is a huge benefit, even for flatter races, but never before have I done a race in which the training that I like to do all the time will be the perfect training. What this all means is that I will likely spend even more time than usual high up in the mountains this spring and summer, and I’m nothing but terribly excited for this.

Looking beyond my individual situation, I think this is also a really exciting and optimistic time for the sport of trail running. The variety of events and athletes which make up the sport right now is so much greater than it was just a few years ago. The popularity of trail and mountain running is growing rapidly around the planet, and this is bringing together folks from so many different cultures, bound by a single passion for traveling on foot through wild, rugged, and scenic places. It is becoming a truly global sport and I think this is a very exciting thing. Whether you’re driven by the opportunity to compete against runners from around the world; in locations around the world; or whether you simply love to run in new and exciting places – and love to share that experience with like-minded individuals – it’s a great time to be a trail runner.

There are more events than ever to choose from that suit anyone and everyone’s tastes. Most of these events (either directly or indirectly) help promote sustainable trail/land use, and encourage or participate in trail maintenance and development. More than ever before, the popularity of trail running is fueling the creation of more places to go trail running.

I think it is also a really exciting time for the competitive side of the sport. As trail running has grown in popularity, so too have the amount of races and runners that are focused more on the competitive aspects of trail running. As more events distinguish themselves in this way, more runners are drawn in from road running and other competitive sports, as they realize they can have their competitive interests met doing something as natural and satisfying as running in the mountains. I have taken part in a lot of different sports over the years, and have had a lot of fun doing so, but not one of them has ever felt nearly as natural and satisfying as running on trails through the mountains.

There has been much speculation over the past couple years about what will happen as more of this “new breed” of athlete comes to the sport of trail running. Even now, you regularly see people debating the impact that top marathon runners will have as they are drawn into the sport by races with more prize money and more focus on high level competition. The thing is that this is no longer a thing of the future; this is a thing that is already here and has been here for quite some time. There are dozens of trail races offering more than a $1000 prize for the winner, including a few offering $5000 or more. These events have already led to the expected result of drawing some top road runners to the sport. It is no longer a question of what will happen when several sub-2:20 marathoners start running trail races, because this has already happened.

The result of all of this: Several really fast road runners have been humbled and awed by the ability of the “slower trail runners;” several really strong and accomplished trail runners have been humbled and awed by the raw ability of the road runners; and, most importantly, a lot of really exciting racing has occurred. Of the dozen or more sub-2:20 marathoners that have taken on competitive trail running in the past few years, I can’t think of a single one who hasn’t been beaten on the trails at least once, in most cases by runners whose marathon PR is 15+ minutes slower than theirs. Conversely, most of these road runners have run some very impressive races, and will likely continue to improve as they become more comfortable on the trails.

Thus, it is no longer a question of what will happen when trail running goes through these changes. The changes have come, and the sport has become more exciting and diverse than ever before. Things will certainly continue to grow and evolve, but this is no longer a thing to anticipate or fear about the future, it is here and now, and in its wake it has left a level of anticipation, optimism, and excitement beyond any that has ever existed in trail running. Or maybe it’s just the return of the warm, sunny weather that has me feeling this way.

At any rate, I am super excited to see where things go from here – both in my individual running and in the sport of trail running as a whole. Anyone else feeling this excitement?

Run Like Geoff Roes Giveaway

To kick of the new column, we’re giving away a “Run Like Geoff Roes” prize pack made up of my favorite trail running gear and nutritional products. To enter, just leave a comment on this article [on the website, not as an email] before the next installment of my column on April 11. It’s as simple as that.

Here’s what the winner, Megan of Run Aimlessly, won:

Call for Comments

  • What are you most anticipating as we enter spring?
  • What aspects of the sport of trail running are you most excited about at the moment?
  • Do you have a suggestion for a column name? If so, fire away! (We reserve the right to use any of the suggestions!)

There are 848 comments

  1. Jay Kelly

    I am a converted road racer. Love running on the trails and am training for my first Ultra 50K and first 50 miler! Nothing like running the trails and being humbled by a fall as tired legs lead to catching a toe on a root or rock. Assess the damage and keep on running!

  2. Grant


    Ever since I unknowingly wandered into Foresthill in the summer of 2010 during the middle of the WS 100, I've become enthralled with and addicted to trail running. I've followed your blog ever since, and it has been a source of inspiration. Makes me wish I had discovered trail running at a younger age…

    Here's what I like about Spring in Northern California: when you sign up for a race, you never know what kind of weather your going to get. Did the Lagoon Valley 1/2 today in rain, hail, and 40mph wind gusts. The trails were so muddy, it was nearly impossible to stay on your feet. I've never seen so many soaking wet, freezing, filthy, … and happy runners in my life!

    Since I didn't win the Mega Million, I'll try my luck for this prize. I've been running in Fairhavens for awhile, and I would love to try the new Masochists with the Fluidpost.

  3. Kate L

    I always love spring and the promise of warmer days after a long winter. This year I'll be making the transition to ultra's from Marathons and Ironman-distance triathlons. I'm excited to spend some time on the trails and off the roads. For me, ultra's are the next logical step in pushing my personal limits. There's something epic to being on the trail covering such distances.

    Great article!! Look forward to reading more!

  4. Ryan

    Looking forward to reading more from you, Geoff, especially on your lead up to Hardrock. Another great reason to come back regularly to irunfar.com

  5. Dawn

    I am looking forward to reading your column as I always enjoy your race reports. Your last (Iditarod) being the best! Keep up the great work. Why not call the column A Run With Geoff? When I read your colums it makes me feel as if I am! Happy Running!

  6. Kix

    Spring has sprung! Hit the trails. Love the column – well, anything you seem to write really. I find you have a knack for writing what the rest of us thinking or feeling. Love Geoff Roes – Unbreakable should be permanently looped on my tv.

    Happy Trails

  7. Glenn S

    I'm looking forward to dry trails and not scraping up my legs on abrasive knee-deep snow.Spring in the valley isn't quite the same as spring in the mountains. As for a column name, perhaps "Up front on the trail", reflecting both Geoff's penchant for running up mountains at the front of the race and his candor (being up front) with his readers.

  8. Laren

    I love that irunfar has augmented the website with more first-hand authorship (and the breadth of other materials as well!). I look forward to reading Geoff's biweekly column as well as AKJ's and a host of others… how about some more female authors?

  9. Scot

    I'm psyched for the growth of irunfar and the addition of Geoff as a columnist. Thanks for all the hard work Bryon, your site is a great resource and gets me primed to run day and night!

  10. Rachel D

    One of the things I am most excited about with the boom in trail running is the support for our natural places that it will generate. We protect what we love. That's basic human nature. When you take up trail running, you can't help but fall in love with these natural places. I think one of the most important side effects of increased trail running, will be an increased desire to protect and preserve our natural places, create more trails and enhance the ones that already exist!

  11. Doug

    I've been following Geoff's blog for a long time, and look forward to his input here on irunfar! This is such a gem of a site, and the number of top notch runners and writers that contribute is incredible!


    will start by saying I am fairly new to trail running. Or the concept of running trails. I have been active outdoors most of my life so trails aren’t new just running them is new. I have been running trails for about a year now since I was encouraged by a co-worker. I have been training since becoming medically able after 4 years of being sidelined by health issues. I have taken thing slow but progressively moving forward.

    I am very excited for spring because as you were saying it brings the new sense of being able to run at different pace then what can be done on snow or ice.

    I will be running the Leadville trail marathon as my first real trail Marathon. I am nervous yet very excited to get the opportunity.

    As far as a name for your column it could be: FOR THE LOVE OF RUNNING.

    AM2 Steven Guthrie

    Funeral Honors Coordinator

    NOSC Denver

    7 Snowmass St. Bldg 1301 Stop 62

    Buckley AFB, CO 80011-9544

    cell 303-501-7769

    fax 720-847-6228

  13. Kelly

    After running multiple marathons I decided I needed a new challenge – why not try an Ultra? Signed up for the HAT 50K in Maryland and what an amazing experience. Different than the marathon in terms of training, running for time instead of miles, and you just never know what to expect.

    I found trail running more demanding on the total body, you need core strength and balance to keep you in good running form whether it is 5 miles long or 30 having that core strength makes a difference.

    I am hooked and will incorporate trail running into all of my training be it a marathon on the road or on the trails.

    Thanks for sharing the article!

  14. Brenton Day

    Really enjoyed the read, Geoff, and I echo your sentiments. I think it's a good thing to see many people who were/are road runners make the transition to the trail. It's exciting for me to see just how they fare and how the simple pleasure of running through the woods or in the mountains can make them smile unlike any other kind of running. I look forward to reading more of your columns in the coming months.

  15. Kevin S.

    Thanks for the article, Geoff. iRunFar continues to be the best place for trail runners to get information about the sport.

  16. Ian Scott

    Looking forward to more of your writings Geoff! Thanks to you and Bryon.

    I am psyched Spring is here in Colorado, love the longer days.

  17. Jacob Puzey

    Thanks for the insight and perspective. I'm looking forward to reading and learning more. I am also looking forward to seeing the sport get more competitive and hopefully make room for more guys to make a living at it. In terms of the spring I am most looking forward to the sunshine and longer days. No suggestions for a column name. I feel that should be determined by the author of the column and those who have and are sharing seem to do fine with words.

  18. Laurie

    Great column, and I'm looking forward to reading more! Also looking forward to seeing Unbreakable. You inspire me to run far!

  19. Mike Dixon

    I am most anticipating longer trail runs in preparation for WS100! I share that same excitement in the springtime. I would much rather cover distance on the trails than the roads. Both have their positives but this ultra world is such a new adventure for me… great post!

  20. Molly

    Glad to see you have a column on this site; enjoy following your experiences. As spring slowly comes to southwest Montana, I'm excited to see snow disappear and the dirt exposed. A slow process at low elevations…

  21. Erik

    I'm definitely feeling the excitement! An injury has kept me sidelined for a while (as has trying to come back too fast too soon from said injury…) and I can't wait to get out again (but I'll wait until I'm totally ready this time…)!

  22. Brett

    Excited to see you posting in another spot Geoff. I'm looking forward to getting onto some mountain trails this Spring that I haven't been on since last Autumn.

  23. Rich

    Great piece, looking forward to reading more from you Geoff.

    Following the Iditarod Trail Invitational was a lot of fun.

  24. Wynter K

    Yesterday I had the best run of my life! The late day sun poured into the forest and fell across the single track I was running. The Temperature was perfect and I felt fresh and fast. Winding through the trees and switchbacks I couldn't help feel an excitement for the season to come. Once again Its great to be alive! I'm looking forward to a spring and summer full of amazing runs like this. Being new to the sport of trail running I want to share this wonder with like minded people and maybe race a little. Although I will never win any awards or Cash prizes, yesterdays run was worth all the money I could have payed. Thanks for all the inspiration to keep getting out there.


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