[pct-l] Running Events On The PCT

James Vesely JVesely at sstinternational.com
Mon Mar 16 08:38:14 CDT 2015

"Looking over my shoulder".  Sounds almost like mountain bike territory.  

-----Original Message-----
From: Pct-L [mailto:pct-l-bounces at backcountry.net] On Behalf Of CHUCK CHELIN
Sent: Sunday, March 15, 2015 8:18 AM
To: PCT listserve
Subject: [pct-l] Running Events On The PCT

Good morning, ,

An important reason why I hike on the PCT is to enjoy the peace and quiet of the mountains.  If I want to dodge a bunch of people I’ll hang around a mall or a supermarket parking lot.

The ultra-marathon I recently describe near Mt. Hood was particularly aggravating for several reasons:

It was of long duration.  Some of the tail-end runners apparently required
10 hours to complete the 50 miles.  That’s a full day for a hiker who happens to be there at the same time.

The out-and-back nature of the race meant I had to encounter most of the runners twice.

The outbound leg of the run was bad enough, but I could at least see them coming. The convention while hiking is for the person with a load, or the person going uphill, to be offered the right-of-way.  The runners did not observe that:  I had the load, and that stretch of trail isn’t steep, but they took the center.

On their return leg they approached quickly and quietly from behind so I had to spend several hours looking over my shoulder.  Some shouted to alert me of their approach while others just brushed buy.

I don’t know what’s in other peoples’ minds but I expect they believed they were the “official” users – See the number on my shirt? – doing something real while I was only up there wandering around. I don’t recall anyone demanding that I get out of the way, but it seemed implicit that they expected I should.  As a grizzled old hiker-guy I’m not readily intimidated, particularly by a bunch of rail-thin ultra-marathoners wearing colorful panties, but as a matter of common courtesy I stepped off the trail.

Many of those same runners probably also enter the annual Hood-to-Coast Relay from Timberline to Seaside on the coast.  I wonder if they expect to have the right-of-way down the middle of Rt-26 while all the vehicular traffic gets out of their way.

The race organization had many check points – usually at road or trail crossings – with water and some other kinds of drinks, plus snacks and fruit.  While all of that was aggressively pushed to the runners I wasn’t offered, and didn’t request, anything.

Broad expansion of shared usage is a step down the preverbal slippery-slope, but at least runners – being foot travelers – have some claim to PCT use.  However, with the virtual plethora of other hiking trails -- many that can form a convenient loop -- it’s unclear to me why they would want to deliberately disrupt of the traditional and defined use of the PCT.


ess permission.

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