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Digital Subscriptions > Men's Running > October 2018 > WHY ROAD RACES ARE OVERRATED

WHY ROAD RACES ARE OVERRATED

ROAD MARATHON SEASON IS UPON US, BUT DIE-HARD TRAIL FAN CERI REES SAYS THEY HAVE NOTHING ON THEIR OFF-ROAD EQUIVALENT. HERE’S WHY…

TRAIL RUNNING SPECIAL/OVERRATED

While we are in the middle of a running boom, the popularity of road marathons appears to be in decline, at least in the UK. Perhaps it is the realisation that there are new, more inspiring challenges out there.

A Danish researcher, Jens Jakob Andersen, from Copenhagen Business School, analysed participation rates across the world, as well as in different countries. His analysis shows that there was a 5% decrease in marathon running in the UK between 2009 and 2014.

True, last year there were 37,800 London entries for the Virgin Money London Marathon. But more than 55% of entries for 2016 are first-timers, who may never run another one. In the UK, men’s marathon participation decreased by 13%. Why could this be?

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About Men's Running

When I first started running, venturing off-road was all about school cross-country races, generally around anodyne playing fields in heavy football boots. It wasn’t the kind of experience that books are written about. In fact, it was the kind of experience that scarred many would-be runners for life. But fast forward, cough cough, a few years and trail running is now big business. The clamour for places in the ‘big daddy’ of all trail race, the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, is as fervent as the Virgin Money London Marathon and shoe companies now have entire ranges dedicated to trail and off-road. Why is it so popular? If you haven’t yet ventured off the beaten track, trail running is about being more in-tune with nature and taking stock of your surroundings. It’s not about times or even really distances; it’s about testing your body over different terrain with vistas to die-for! In this Men’s Running special, we talk about everything trail, from training to technique. We even cover a few races for good measure. We hope you enjoy!