Posted by: GeekHiker | March 29, 2009

Stepping Aside

I’ll admit it, trail running just has no appeal for me.

Everything I enjoy about hiking, the sights, smells, taking photographs, wildlife, drinking in the views, all of it, would be missed if I were trail running.  Heck, most trail runners spend their time, at least from what I can tell, looking down at the trail so they don’t hit a rock or root and fall on their face.  Nah, not for me.

But that’s me.  If trail running is a person’s thing, well, that’s their thing, and I’d never presume to tell someone that how they choose to enjoy the outdoors is right or wrong.

Today was a little bit of an exception.

See, one or two trail runners, no problem.

When the trail you happened to choose to hike also happens to be the trail used by a trail running race?  That’s something different.

The trail was single track, so in order to pass, one person has to step off to the side of the trail.  Since runners are usually loathe to break pace, it’s generally the hikers who do the stepping.

And to be fair, for the post part, the runners were very nice.  Most of them panted out a “thanks” as they passed by.  Only one bumped me, apparently not able to wait a couple of seconds for me to reach a section of trail not covered in brush.

And there was the one woman who gave me the truly evil eye, apparently for having the audacity to be going in the opposite direction on the same trail.

But overall, everyone was very nice about the whole thing

I can’t deny it though: after having to stop hiking every 30 seconds time after time, my patience started to wear thin.  Maybe it was just my desire for solitude on the trail.

For the first 50 runners, I’d acknowledge their “thanks” with a “sure thing.”

For the next 50, it became an “uh, huh.”

By the time the last few runners trickled by, I was down to a neanderthal-level “grunt.”

So I guess I’m not always the most amenable hiker on the trail.

But at least I never gave anyone the evil eye!



  1. The only thing worse that trail runners are mountain bikers. The polite ones have bells, the rude ones scare the hell out of you.

    Your reaction is reasonable and identical to how I would have reacted.

  2. See, the crutches mess me up. I rarely if ever…move for anyone. Especially if forced. I feel like they should move for me. Wrong, yes…natural…yup.

  3. I can see how always stepping aside would really wear down your patience. That doesn’t sound like a fun hike. But I’d rather deal with trail-runners than mountain bikers.

  4. hey, at least you didn’t trip anyone on purpose 🙂

  5. you were nice to the first 100 — that’s more than me! 🙂

  6. Oooh I’m really good at the evil eye. I’ll tell you what. You can come pick me up at the airport when I arrive in LA. I give the best evil eye when I’m a stressed out traveller. Well no, that’s not true. My evil eye is evillest when I’m at a club full of pretentious men who clearly just want to take me home and do terrible things to me and not spea kto me ever again. We can do that too! Erm, go to a club, that is. Not the other stuff 😉

  7. Homer-Dog – Oh, man, running into a moutain bike race – *shudder*

    Melinda – I would always move aside for ya. 🙂

    Dingo – At least by the time I was halfway through the hike, the race was done!

    Blakspring – Not that I wasn’t tempted…

    Spleeness – LOL

    Mrs Chuck Bartowski – I need a girl to take me home and do terrible things to me. Which, uh, has nothing to do with this post… *blush*

  8. Maybe there should be a post on that topic? No wait, maybe that post belongs on my blog. I will write one later tonight…

  9. As a runner (who occasionally decides to sprint here and there while hiking) I thank you for your patience.

  10. If I had been one of those runners, I myself would have tried to step aside. As a driver, I especially pay attention to bikes, therefore as hikers are slower I would pay attention to them.

  11. You should always give runners the stink eye…

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