Saturday, April 19, 2008

Runners - Are We Taking Over The Trails ?

While out for a quick 15 miles at Rockies today, a beautiful morning with temps in the 60s, I noticed the first signs of the park's transition into the summer months......runners. I often enjoy the winter months at Rockies (despite the frigid weather) simply because of the solitude. In the summer months, the trails of Rockies become a haven for runners, and tons of them - from individuals to large training groups, including high school and college teams, and training groups like Team in Training.

The number of people running marathons over the years has increased at very consistent rates. According to one report, 2007 saw a record number of marathon finishes in the USA (more than 403,000 finishing times were recorded), with the average age of all 2007 finishers being approximately 39, and the average finishing time being approximately 4:41 (See Marathonguide.com's 2007 Marathon Overview). Compare that to the total finishing times recorded in 2000 - approximately 299,000.

So, with what seems to be more and more runners out there, does this translate into an overcrowding of your favorite training routes, trails, local parks, etc... ? Well, this seems to be the case at Rockies, a park run by the State of New York. There were some rumblings late last year that the park was "developing a new usage plan to account for different users" . . . . in an effort to try to "keep larger groups of runners from Swan Lake and the area around the Visitors’s Center" . . . . to keep larger groups of runners away from certain areas where there are high volumes of people that simply come to the park to walk, bird watch, sight see, etc... with their families (quotes taken from Westchester Trail Runs). It appears as if this has gone beyond the realm of rumblings, as I came across strategically posted signs around the Swan Lake area :

Does anyone else notice an increase in runners on their favorite routes this time of year, or run in local parks that may be attempting to implement new rules designed to decrease running traffic in certain areas ?? Feel free to comment with your thoughts.

Happy running.

12 comments:

  1. Anthony --I had the best time running in Rockies, mostly for your and Kristen's company but the trails and views are gorgeous and the weather perfect --so glad I went. It didn't seem too crowded but I imagine it does. Meri is going to love the long run next sun. I am going to get in touch with PVPatrick from kickrunners and tell him to look at your blog --he PMed me that he will be at Sybil -that will seem like cakewalk compared to bear mtn 50K, which he did. Oh, and let me and Frank know the relay details!

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  2. Out where I run I only meet the occasional cyclist. Along with farmers in trucks and BIG cotton trucks. Otherwise I have only seen one other runner out there. Apparently Lubbock is full of lazy people!

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  3. Definitely more runners on trails even in short period I've been doing it (5 years). Many more. It is noticeable on our Wildwood in Forest Park big times as it is a single track, and when spring hits, Marathon Training groups go in 15 and more. Crazy! But if I enjoy it so much, how can I be unhappy about others doing same thing?

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  4. Yep the fair weathered runners start to come out of the woodwork. :( I like having the trails to myself. My favorite running place is a national park and Spring-Fall it is packed with tour buses.

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  5. wow! we aren't that overrun here in the desert, although i am seeing more people running on trails - it's becoming more standard, not so rare.

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  6. ummmm I see NO runners here on my pavement trails :-) but I do have to dodge some motorized scooters or jazzies...HAHA

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  7. Bear Mountain/Harriman is never crowded, once you get a mile or two beyond the more popular trailheads--and I suspect the races up there are not going to convert too many to those trails. Farther up the Hudson in the Highlands, it can get pretty dense around Breakneck Ridge, but, again, head a few miles deeper in and it's just you and the trail.

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  8. WOW! That sign is nuts! I live in the boondocks so you know none of that happens here ;-)

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  9. I have never seen a sign like that (no groups), but did see a sign on Saturday that said "Caution: Runners on the road"

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  10. I think Spring brings a new sense of purpose for both the serious and the not-so-serious runners. Here is Georgia is dies off a bit in the summer since the humidity is so bad. But I do know what you mean.

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  11. It's pretty mucht he same yer round here, so I can't comment on any increase in runners. But I can see the need to try and limit people to groups of 3 or less, especially on trails. It peeves me when I can't get around a group of runners.

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  12. No crowding here. I wish there were more people that got outdoors and enjoyed the trails!

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