Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Cross Country (XC) vs. Trail Races

What exactly is the difference between XC and trail running? I have been wondering that lately, so did some surfing during lunch.

According to the Adirondack Sports & Fitness website:

"Cross country races do, of course, follow a trail, but there is a blurry-edged distinction between these and “true” trail races. Cross country events are often more urban in nature, utilizing a town park or recreation area, while trail runs are held in more isolated areas. Trail runs are technical, with lots of rocks, roots and fallen trees to leap over, while cross country courses have a more groomed appearance. Entry forms for trail events read like warnings: If you get injured, there is no ambulance following along to give you first aid. Instead, you’ll have to wait for the stretcher-bearers."

That seems pretty accurate - the XC races around Tucson are in urban parks. All the trail runs/races are done at trailheads, and run back into the wilderness areas - and the trails are way more technical!

Also, the road running clubs put on the XC races, while the trail running clubs/members put on the trail runs/races.
Our XC races are run mostly on trails and occasionally on paths but never for the whole course. Yup no first aid but at the one race where I sprained my ankle on a tree root a ATV (all terain vehicle) managed to find its way down to me and haul me out.

Despite the rocks, roots, mud, fallen trees, ice, snow and stuff we come across on the course I still like them best.
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