[pct-l] Running Events On The PCT

Todd Evans Todd.Evans at a-dec.com
Sun Mar 15 18:53:51 CDT 2015

As both a PCT section hiker and a trail runner I can see both sides. I ran the Mount Hood 50 trail run 2 years ago, I encountered a couple through hikers during the run. I felt bad for them and their timing on that section of the trail because of the number of runners that passed them at least twice. Most trail runners are respectful and genuinely polite to other trail users, after all, these are public trails that we all share. Just because the trail is called the PCT doesn’t change the fact it is still a public trail we all have a right to be on. Yes, runners are concerned about their time and many of them will not know the "common courtesies" of hikers such when to  yield to others, but they are not purposely being rude. I am sure there are a few exceptions, but as a regular hiker and trail runner in many events on the PCT and other trails I am amazed at how welcoming this crowd is compared to road racers. I hope that others on this site can realize there is a benefit to allowing all trail users whether hiking, horseback riding or running. We all have a right to be on the trail whenever the Forest service approves. Much of the trail maintenance happens from horseback riders and trail runners. Many trail races require a minimum of 8 hours of trail maintenance before letting a runner into the race. With 300 racers in an event that is 2,400 hours of trail maintenance per event. How many PCT hikers are providing that kind of support to the trail?
Some of you that are looking for "peace and tranquility" on the trail need to remember there are many places the trail is actually part of a highway or jeep roads with no tranquility. If you are looking for guaranteed solitude the forest service has a name for that, it's a wilderness area, the PCT goes through many, you won't find any trail races in those areas, they wont allow it. 
I hope we can all get along on the land we have all paid for and that we all enjoy at different speeds.


Hiking the PTC since 1987, running it since 2009

-----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.


-Hiking the Pct since before it was the PCT – 1965

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