US Trail Running Conference announces theme for 2021 – 
Trail Running as a Restorative Sport

June 8, 2021

Empowering long term success for trail races and a zero carbon sport 

Estes Park, COActive at Altitude, organizers of the US Trail Running Conference has announced the theme for this year’s edition of the annual event, Trail Running as a Restorative Sport. This theme is an organic and logical development from last year’s successful theme of Trail Running Communities for Climate Action and Sustainability.

The ninth annual US Trail Running Conference will be held October 27-30, 2021, and is presented by UltraSignup and Spartan Trail. The Conference is also held in partnership with the American Trail Running Association (ATRA), and is delivered across two segments. The first presents content designed for trail race directors, and is held Wednesday, October 27, to Friday, October 29, while the second segment contains trail runner focused content, and takes place on Saturday, October 30. The Spartan Trail US Championship also takes place in Fayetteville following the Conference, with a 10k night run on Saturday, October 30, and a 10k, half marathon, and 50k on Sunday, October 31.

The theme of Trail Running as a Restorative Sport was inspired by the book, The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken. In his book Hawken eloquently reminds us that the “promise of business is to increase the well-being of humankind through service, creative invention, and ethical action.” (p.2). The content illustrates how far the sport of trail running has moved away from adding positive actions to all of those factors. It is time to create new and innovative practices so that the sport truly represents and increases the well-being of all runners and this planet.

For trail race directors, the theme will be delivered by a combination of expert presentations and speaker panels that will cover four foundational components that each contribute towards moving trail running to become a restorative sport. The four components for race directors are: Climate, Diversity, Community and Business.

Within the Climate component, content will cover effective steps we can all take on climate action and that races can share with their runners and followers, sustainability initiatives, programs like the TerraCycle Performance Nutrition Brigade from GU Energy Labs, and how we can move the sport towards a goal of zero carbon. For the Diversity component, content will focus on how races can attract a more diverse audience and reach out to BIPOC, women, LGBTQIA, blind and adaptive, youth and elder runners, and other under represented groups in the sport. Contained in the Community component, content will cover how to grow trail running communities, maintaining and cherishing trails, and a program to attract new and younger race directors to the sport. Finally, the Business component will feature content to help race directors market their races, create effective courses, make their races stand out, and establish effective sponsor partnerships.

For trail runners, content will be focused on Climate, Diversity, and Community. In a similar process to the session for race directors, information for trail runners will also be delivered by a mixture of expert presentations and speaker panels. Information on Climate will be delivered by sessions on climate action including personal responses. Diversity will be covered by a women’s panel, and sessions on BIPOC, and other representative groups. Lastly, Community will include sessions on starting your own trail running group, as well as healthy running and the importance of trail running as a spiritual experience.

Adam Chase, President of the American Trail Running Association, remarked that he was thrilled with this year’s theme: “The same governing principles of economy and ecology overlap with those of trail running. We all strive for efficiency and optimized form, getting the most out of our runs, enjoying the environment through which we flow, leaving nothing and taking only memories. The Conference will address the challenge of how we might grow our sport and community in a sustainable manner while allowing the ‘industry’ of trail races, gear, camps, publications, and other aspects to flourish?”

Event Director Terry Chiplin comments: “We are particularly excited to announce the theme for this year’s US Trail Running Conference as it reflects a timely change in direction for the sport. We know that all trail runners and race directors are passionate about caring for our environment and communities, and we are excited to generate and deliver content that will provide positive education opportunities across the four pillars of the sport, Climate, Diversity, Community and Business. We look forward to this being another must-attend event for anyone that is interested in helping to move the sport toward a restorative model that revitalizes habitats, ecosystems, businesses and our communities to their optimum.”

More info:

Conference registration includes options for race director days as well as trail runner day. Details at http://ustrailrunningconference.com/register/

For additional details contact Event Director, Terry Chiplin,
terry@ustrailrunningconference.com, or 303-304-9159.

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