Fifteen (and a half) Types of People I Regularly See on the Trail

Inspired by the Angry Jogger’s Ten Different Types of Runners I Regularly See on the Road, I felt compelled to write a related post for our trail brethren, albeit with a bit less salty language.

Aside from all the regular runners I see, these are the other types of trail characters in my neck of the woods:

1.  Gear-junkies. They’ve got leg panties, a tricked-out hydration pack,  Garmin on their wrist, an arm-banded iPhone, ear buds, clean and colorful shoes, and a fancy running shirt they didn’t get for free at a race.

2.  Old-timers. These guys and gals are wearing old trainers, some nylon shorts and either a cotton race shirt or nothing.  Water bottle? Maybe, but it’s likely a plastic bottle tucked into their shorts.

3.  Trail chicks. I’m seeing (and hearing) packs of 2-3 women more frequently. They’re running easy, chit-chatting, and are always up for a big “hi, how ya doin?” as we pass.

4.  Extreme hikers. This episode comes to mind. They’ve got backpacks, giant boots, shorts with 30 pockets, trekking poles, wide-brimmed hats, and scarves.  And they’re likely no more than 3 miles from the trailhead.

5.  Social Media people. These runners are stopping every few minutes to take pictures of themselves and update their statuses.

6.  Collegiate runners. These people embarrass the rest of us, as ten of them swoop past on the trail clocking 6 min miles.  Invariably, the female team will pass by too, giving us guys an extra pep in our step.

7.  Ginourmous groups of runners. I don’t know where they come from or where they’re going, but I’ve been seeing larger groups in the past year or so.

8.  Mountain Bikers.  These people go one of two ways. Either they cede trail to us and give a big “hey, looking good!” or they barrell down the trail with deliberate disdain of our existence.

9.  Loud talkers. I can hear these people coming from the next canyon over. If they’re running with me, great. I don’t have to concentrate on listening and ask “what’s that again?” constantly, but if they’re not running with me, it feels strangely voyeuristic and invasive on my time spent in nature.

10.  That guy you see all the time. There are a few people I always see on the trails. We nod and say hi, but that’s it. Do they live around here? Are our schedules similar? Why don’t I ever see him at races?  Who’s the exact opposite from…

10.5  That person you’ve never seen in your life.  This happens occasionally on my regular trails when I’ll see someone and think “who the hell was that?” How have I never seen that person?” and my running mind will then invent scenarios to explain it. Maybe they’re in town for a funeral. Perhaps they’re visiting their family from out of town. Did they just move here and are looking for a training group? Maybe they’re one of those brand new runners who can thrown down. Who was that person?

11. Equestrians. These people are weird. They often seem pretty neurotic about not getting near their horses, and I guess for a good reason, but they often seem bothered by runners on the trails. Jimmy Dean Freeman and I saw an enourmously-busted woman in a bikini riding a horse during a race in the middle of the night a few years ago and it continues to be one of the strangest sites I’ve ever seen while running.

12.  The minimalist guy/gal.  I see these people occasionally deep on the trails. No shirt, no water bottle, no pack.  Just them against themselves and the elements.

13. The guy with the headlamp at 2pm. Where in the world is that guy coming from? Has he been out here since 5am? Is there a race today I didn’t know about?

14. Was that just…just…just? This is the person who I think I met at a race…or maybe it was at a trailhead. Or is it a Facebook friend? I think their name is…John…or Jim…something with a J maybe.

15. Your friends. Hey, what are you doing out here! How’s it going? What are you guys running today? Want to grab a beer later? Cool, give me a call when you’re done and we can meet up!


What other trail characters am I missing?


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