When you think of trail running do you have visions of extreme, fanatical, super fit mountain goats going where no sane person should? Then maybe it’s time we all lost our sanity, as the benefits of trail running are huge. So, throw away all your preconceptions, trail running is for anyone who runs or who would like to run. Let us take away some of the mystery and highlight the many benefits of this growing sport.


The adventure

If you love to explore beautiful places or find hidden gems in this spectacular country of ours, then get out on the trails. Trails can be flat or hilly, just find the one for you. You don't even have to run the whole thing - walking is allowed. We’re not all superhuman after all! Irish Trails and Coillte Trails are brilliant places to start. Soon you will start looking at every trail you pass and making plans to come back and see where it takes you.

The benefits for your mind

As more and more of us now live in urban areas it is so refreshing to escape the traffic, the concrete and the noise of the urban jungle and reconnect with nature. The technical aspect of trail running means you are alert to your surroundings and the terrain. This helps you put aside the stresses of the day and focus entirely on yourself and the moment. As with all running, it activates serotonin, so you are definitely going to feel good about yourself afterwards. 

"I've got 99 problems, but I'm going running to ignore them all for an hour."


The benefits for your body

Trail running is 3 dimensional. You will never be running on the same surface, so no fear of suffering from repetitive strain on your limbs. It incorporates uphill and downhill running. The changing dimension of the surfaces means all of your muscles get a workout and the changing landscapes help to strengthen your legs and core as well as your flexibility, balance and reaction time. Your joints will also thank you as the impact on them is greatly reduced!

The gear

The great benefit is that trail running is relatively cheap - you don't need any fancy equipment. If you have a pair of running shoes and a desire to explore then you are good to go! Any pair of running shoes will generally be ok to get you started, but a pair of trail running shoes is the recommended key piece of kit. These provide good heel support, strong soles and lots of grip in the slipperiest mud.

It’s great fun

Trail running activates the child in us. It’s the freedom, the fun of running down a hill. It is not elitist or for the select few, this is for you. You can go as far, as slow, as high as you want. You decide! Yes, you will get wet and muddy and maybe even get lost, but you will have an absolute blast. 

Getting started

We realise not everyone has trails on their doorstep, especially city dwellers. But you would be surprised where they can be found without too much travel or effort when you start to look around - a countryside path, or trail around a city park is a good place to start. Ireland’s towns or cities are not that far from the countryside, and many have great parks, forests and green areas which can be explored. Getting started is easier than you think. Check out IMRA and NIMRA who are great ambassadors for the sport across the island of Ireland. 

Gaelforce 10K Trail Run Trilogy

Signing up for a trail running event is a great motivator to get out on the trails! The Gaelforce 10k Trilogy is made up of three amazing trail runs all easily accessible from Dublin city. Each event is different - start on a spring morning in the Wicklow countryside Kippure, a summer afternoon near the sea in Bray and finish your running year with a late autumn run to spectacular Howth Summit. You can run 1, 2 or all 3, building your training, strength & endurance as you go.