Trail Running vs Road Running

So, I have successfully completed the Cape Winter Trail Series and I think I am converted…  I’ll probably always have an affinity to road running because that is where I started and I do happen to find value in pounding the pavements, but trail running adds this element of fun which I haven’t felt on the road in a long time!

There are some obviously glaring differences between trail and road running but bare with me as I state the obvious and then the not so obvious below, and then let me know if you agree or not:

Road running, although it has the potential to take you through some lovely areas, just doesn’t quite get you through the back-country like trail running does.  To be fair, you are so busy watching your footing while on a trail that you do miss out on some of the spectacular scenery, but I have no problem stopping to take it in because guaranteed there are other people doing the same – without stupid comments from fellow road runners like “This is a run, not a walk” – I kid you not…

Trail running doesn’t seem as competitive to me, I’m not sure if this is just in my mind but at the start of a road race you can (or at least I can 🙂 feel the tension amongst the runners which isn’t there on a trail run.  At the start of a trail run the most I feel is a touch of confusion as people just generally mill about until someone shouts ‘GO’ – creating a much more relaxed atmosphere.  Again, to be fair, I guess if I was competing for a prize in trail running I’d probably feel the pressure…

Trail running is WAY more trendy 🙂  It’s all about the gear, which does look super cool and rugged but also costs more than road running gear so you have to build your trail wardrobe up over time.  Many of my friends have commented on this point, so this isn’t just me!

The vibe after a trail run is so much more community orientated.  Most people disappear after a road run, which means by the time I come in most people have left already… Ok, ok that isn’t always true but with the trail races I’ve done it seems like most of the field stays behind to socialise – and I have been nowhere near the front…

Perhaps this has just been situational with the trail runs I have done, what about you and your experience with it?

In conclusion I think road running will always be part of my life but I’m going to accumulate some rugged trail gear and keep going off-road to see where it takes me 🙂

Me, looking very uncool :)

Me, looking very uncool 🙂


  1. Staci says:

    I am entered in the gauteng summer trail series and so looking forward to it. I also have to stop to take in the scenery because I am very focused on where I am running. And, I also run with a huge grin on my face because it is so much more fun than being on the road (but I love road races too.)

  2. Staci says:

    I have done 2 trail/off road runs and have entered the summer series in jhb. I also run with a grin on my face and stop to take in the scenery.

  3. Trail running or road running? it doesn’t matter much to me. I enjoy doing both!

  4. Cands says:

    Glad to hear Marike 🙂

  5. Marike says:

    I also took part in one of the trail series runs – and coming from a road running background, I must admit that I was grinning like and idiot as I sped along vineyards in the pouring rain, covered up to my waist in mud. Another convert!

  6. I think you look very cool, especially considering how far you’d run at this point!

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