My Trail Running Origin Story

How did I get into trail running?

It all started with Last of the Mohicans.

See, when I was growing up my Dad and I watched LOTS of historical fiction war films.

This film adaptation of the French and Indian War novel was one of the all-time greats. And the protagonist Hawkeye (played by Daniel Day Lewis) running straight up the face of a mountain was one of the most badass things I ever saw,

That image just stewed in the back of my mind, I suppose, through a couple of decades of not being a runner.

Then there was the time I went for a hike with a friend of mine who lost her phone on the trail. Just as we were losing hope, along comes a super-fit dude in trail runner garb (complete with runner’s backpack).

His name was Donovan, and like Hawkeye, he was a badass. He was also a really friendly guy, and he zipped down the trail to find my friend’s phone.

That interaction cemented a positive impression of trail runners in my mind, and that impression has only gotten better with time, as I’ve met more wonderful, badass trail runners who prove to be kind and generous as well.

Well, at some point I started running on pavement. And eventually all of these interactions and all of my fantasies of trail-running badassery started to become reality. I can’t remember where I first ran a trail, but it was likely somewhere on the Chattahoochee River – either the Cochran Shoals trail or the East Palisades trail (could also have been a park up near Nashville that I decided to run on a whim).

Anyway, I fell in love. As I’ve written elsewhere, trail running is more exciting, more beautiful, and better for flow than most other running.

In any case, I’m now spoiled for anything but trails. I ran my first trail race this October and hope to step up at least to a 50K by mid-next-year (so help me, God). I’m meeting more and more people like Donovan. I’m even feeling like Hawkeye on good days.

James Walpole

James Walpole is a writer, startup marketer, and perpetual apprentice. You're reading his blog right now, and he really appreciates it. Don't let it go to his head, though.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.