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I joined this list a couple days ago to monitor the responses to a
message a friend forwarded to this list seeking support for a runner
attempting a record thru run. Unfortunately, I joined a few days late
and missed the discussion, which he seemed to indicate was quite
negative. This did not surprise me, but I would like to ask a couple
questions at the end of this post.
First, about running shoes: I am a trail runner with limited hiking
experience who has always hiked in running shoes. I have done only
weekend hikes in the past ten years, with my only extended trip of
six days coming when I was 13. I have completed up to 100 miles
running on trails in one day, and have run on some of the
rougher AT sections in the Whites. Here are my observations:
- with training (hiking or running on trails), your ankles become much
stronger. For me, ankle support is not a worry.
- once trained, most runners find trails to be much easier on the body
than roads despite the added twisting motions on ankles and knees,
and the steep downhills
- running shoes and people's feet vary a lot. Only some combinations are
good for trails.
- some lightweight running shoes fall apart very quickly on trails
- running shoes are generally not designed to support heavy loads. When
I was 13, I didn't notice. But now wearing a loaded pack (?40 lb.)
for just a weekend, I feel that I am not getting full support from
even a good pair of shoes. I WOULD NOT anticipate using running shoes
for an extended hike with a heavy pack.
- for day trips with only a fanny pack or light backpack (running), I have
had no problems with running shoes
- only the biomechanically gifted would likely have success with big loads
and long distance.
- in general foot support, not ankle support, seems to be the issue.
- due to poor insulation, running shoes are not good for camping in the
snow (I have done this). However, for running (or even continuous
hiking), I have found them fine for 4-5 hours in the snow. Of course
NO COTTON SOCKS! I am thinking about seeing how Gore-Tex socks
improve cold/wet weather running shoe performance.
- I have felt no adverse effects from the "forward tilt" of my shoes while
Questions for you all: What do you feel in general about trail runners?
Is a well-behaved and polite runner fully accepted on the trail? Or
does that rushing pace or light load somehow set them apart? Are
day-hikers/runners and overnighters equal in your eyes?
And one more time, how about the thru-run attempt at 52 days? What
issues about trail usage does this bring up?
I may have some answers and alternate points of view. At the same
time, I recognize that a traditional thru-hiker might look with
distain at some guy blasting thru who isn't even going to sleep on
I hope this generates some interesting discussion.