Duncan Ridge Trail

How to Be a Better Trail Running Parasite

Marc Peruzzi’s article attacking trail runners and hikers last month on Outside Online has understandably grated some nerves in trail running circles. A link to the article shows up in running-related Facebook groups on an almost hourly basis, and a plethora of “open-letter” style responses are popping up (much like this one). And despite Peruzzi’s claims to the contrary, that’s exactly the type of reaction that clickbait articles like his are designed to elicit. In the era of BuzzFeed and the highly unfortunate, yet ever impending death of print journalism, well, it’s easy to cave in to such tactics.

But–and bear with me here, runners–you shouldn’t be angry with Marc. Despite a litany of unsupported assertions, a healthy dose of elitist condescension, and a marked lack of offering any sort of constructive solution, the man has a point. His heart is in the right place. All trail users–including cyclists–could do a better job of working to preserve the places that we so dearly love. For me, my local trails are sacred, like a second home, and I feel invested in their care. And I care for them, even if it is on my own time. Could I do better? Absolutely I could. We all could, maybe even Marc himself. Does that make us parasites? I guess that depends on who you ask…

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