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Trail Etiquette – Passing on the Trail

For each Dirty Trail Race this year, starting with the Dirty Snowflake in January, we will be highlighting different  trail etiquette tips to make trail races safer and more enjoyable for all and to better protect the trails we run on and their surroundings.  Whether you are new to the sport or an old pro, check out and share these useful tips!


Pass Runners on the Left
Just like when you’re driving a car, the standard way to pass another runner on trails is to run on their left. This lessens the chance of bumping into each other or into a tree or having to run off the trail.

Announce Yourself
When you do pass someone, announce that you are about to pass (e.g. “passing on your left”) so that you don’t startle the runner ahead of you. While they may hear your footsteps, many people are focused and not concentrating on what may be behind them

Don’t Run Side By Side
While you may have just met a new friend or want to catch up with an old one, most trails are too narrow to safely contain runners side by side, let alone another runner passing from behind or in the opposite direction. Run in single file. This will also help prevent runners from widening the trail unnecessarily.

Be Courteous to other Trail Users
For almost all trail events, especially those on public lands in the national, state or local park systems, the trails are still open to other users. You may encounter hikers, horse riders or other runners on the trails during a race or a training run. These folks have just as much of a right to use the trail as you do.

If do you encounter a horse and rider, slow down to a walk and talk to the rider until you pass. Sudden movements can scare a horse causing him/her to react abruptly.

Next Tip – Aid Station Etiquette

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