As trail runners we prefer to run in a natural venue. Enjoying the trees, grass, brush and animals. Earth in its natural state. The best quote I’ve heard is from the person who introduced me to trail running about 5 years ago. John palmer said, “I’m not fanatical about competing. Running a 50 miler was about the experience. Although I’ve completed a few ultras, I am drawn more to “experience” runs such as the trails at Big Bend or the Grand Canyon”. John has run a 100 miler and will discuss it when asked, but he most enjoys taking in the serenity of the woods as he runs with friends or alone.
The Experience is what it’s all about, I think. Sure we love to compete every so often. At races we have a chance to measure ourselves against the trail and the clock. For some, it’s a chance to measure themselves against others. There’s nothing wrong with that so long as you keep it in perspective, I think. Unless of course, you are an elite runner. Some elite runners are sincere individuals who don’t seek fame. Others, though few, bask in their glory and blow their own horn. While still others who seek no glory are showered with it but most times it is because of the sincerely good nature and intentions they possess. The latter are genuine people and you can just feel that presence about them.
We prefer not to be last of course. And for some like me, as long as we are somewhere in the middle of the pack is just fine. But if not,that's OK too. In trail running, most cheer for those who are not so swift and may come in at or near the end of a race. They are congratulated by most for persevering and completing the race. And folks who do this are by far the majority within the trail running community.
Not so in road running. Where recently a college coach stated something to the effect that “those people who plod through a marathon in 5-6 hours belittle the sport and are an embarrassment to those who actually RUN a marathon.” Not all road runners are of this nature though.
Trail runners are a varied lot. Sort of like our society. There are those who run for the enjoyment and those who must always compete. Those who seek glory, and those who seek tranquility. Those who seek “Cool” people and those who seek friends.
Mostly though, unlike our society, trail runners are naturalists, purists, and friends.