by Memphis Hood

Hi, my name is Memphis and I am a trail-aholic. I have been addicted for over 2 years. I’ve lost several girlfriends, shoes, and toenails because of this addiction. I remember my first fix just like it was yesterday. I had just moved to Salt Lake City, and felt like I was in the movie, Children of the Corn. I soon realized, I just needed to escape my environment and decided to explore the trails right behind the University of Utah. My 30 minute easy trail run turned into a 2 hour run/hike. I could not get enough. At every turn and curve there was a different breathtaking view overlooking Salt Lake City. The terrain was never the same. I was not even consciously aware that I was running the way I was when I ran on the roads. And that was the first time I got the twitch. I call it the “trail twitch,” some may call it the “runner’s high,” call it what you will.

I used to live on campus at the University of Utah, so I ran on the Bonnville Shoreline trail every single day. At first no one noticed I was changing. Yes, they saw the dirt on my socks and my trail attire. But they didn’t see the bloody socks and gel packets I hid under my mattress. Then one day after missing a lunch date with a girl who we will call “Sally,” she sat me down and said, “you have a problem, you like trail running more than me.” She made me choose. Sally, you bet your white flowery bloomers I like trail running running more than you. Yes, I chose running with the rattlesnakes and squatting down in the brush to do my business over sensitive Sally.

Ever since that day I try to run on the trails as much as possible. Running in neigborhoods and in the city offer no excitement like running on a narrow pathway right on the edge of a cliff. Trail running offers incredible views, adventure, fast footwork, unpredicatble terrain, and most of all, mother nature.

Why should you run on the trails?

Trail running offers you a way to change up your training and avoid common overuse injuries associated with road running. Also, trail running can offer you a new perspective and a new appreciation for running.

Why do I run on trail runs?

It is a place where I can yell at the top of my lungs much like Lieutenant Dan does in Forest Gump when he is on Bubba’s Shrimp boat. Trail running is much more challenging than running on the road. I also run trails because of all the bizarre and interesting things I have seen. I’ll share a few.

1.) I was flashed by a woman on the Bonneville Shoreline trail. When I ran into her later on the trail she thought I was her friend. So she claims. My 7:30 pace quickly turned into a 6:30 pace.

2.) There is a fox I always run into on the trails. (Not a cute girl I call a fox, but the animal.) I have had several moments with this fox (seen at right) where we just stop and stare at each other. Yes, this is my Dances with Wolves moment.

3.) People dancing and waving their arms on top of the mountains. Perhaps they were on magical mushrooms. Just smile and do a little dance for them while you run. It’s cute and they like it.

4.) I had a doberman mix latch onto my elbow. He would not let go. It was kind of fun and frightening at the same time. Don’t let this scare you from trail running. I’ve been attacked by more poodles at Liberty Park than I have on the trails. The doberman is still alive. No animals were harmed in the research for this article.

5.) Rattlesnakes. Bathroom in split shorts. The end.


What trails should you do?

If you are new to trails, I recommend the Bonneville Shoreline Trail by Red Butte Gardens. You can go for a short run or a very long run. There are different routes you can go and explore.

Pipeline Trail in Mill Creek Canyon is another good trail to start with. Although, I think it’s overrated and gets old very quickly. Watch out for dog poop or human poop. It’s pretty massive, but delightful.

City Creek is another good trail that is connected to the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. City Creek is much like a pretty girl who can trick you with her beauty and take you for a roller coaster ride, but it is well worth it. At least for a few times until you have to get a restraining order.

These three trails are great for new or current trail junkies. The terrain is not too technical and most of the trails are pretty well travelled with other runners.

We would love to hear your thoughts on trail running and where you go (post a comment below).  If you see a skinny guy running with nothing on but a loin cloth, foaming at the mouth, with a fox trotting by his side, say “hi” because that’s me. Please do not spray me with that violent canister of pepper spray or take away my beautifully decorated loin cloth. I’m a harmless trail addict with a serious problem. Please do not stage an intervention. Others have already tried. I work at the Salt Lake Running Company for peak’s sake. It is like a drug factory for me. Save yourself or join me on the twist and curves of the trails! See you soon “Trail Twitchers.”

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