7 things for trail runners to know about Earth Day


By Henry Howard


This year Earth Day is celebrated April 22, but honestly it should be every day. This year’s theme focuses on reducing our environmental footprint and fixing the damage we've already done.


The Earth Day website has a great tool for finding events near you. While not specific to trail running, there are cleanup events that provide good ways for runners to give back.


It is important for trail runners, hikers and others who love exploring nature to understand the impact they are having in the woods, at their homes and elsewhere. The beauty of the trails is not guaranteed forever. And it is up to all of us to protect, restore and respect our environment.


As we turn our attention to Earth Day, here are seven things for trail runners to know:


1. This post on TrailRunner.com, reprinted from Velo Press, offers 10 great ideas on how you can help preserve nature. Among them: don't go off trail, pack out what you pack in and leave nature behind.


2. Perhaps the most well-known trail runner/environmental advocate is Clare Gallagher. I caught up with her a few years ago and remain impressed with her advocacy and commitment today. Learn more about Clare here.


3. For runners, we're usually focused primarily on our feet. As we consider options for the running shoes we wear, there are brands that place an emphasis on conservation and are helpful for the environment. Check out this list, which notes some brands that are completely vegan. While not completely vegan, I was glad to see my personal favorite brand, Hoka One One, on the list.


4. Of course, some companies exhibit wise environmental practices throughout the year. Take Patagonia, for example, which has a very open approach to what they are doing.


5. I always look for companies that support the environment and practice sustainability. Among my favorites is Odlo, which has had these commitments in place for 70-plus years. Additionally, Odlo gear is incredibly lightweight, comfortable and protects against the weather elements. With spring arriving here is a look at some of their warmer weather gear.


6. Another brand with a firm commitment to the planet in place is PacSafe. I have been impressed with their products and commitment to the environment as well. Pacsafe, which has been around for 20 years, has its own fund to protect turtles. The Pacsafe ECONYL Collection turns ocean plastic into anti-theft bags for consumers. Additionally, $1 from every Pacsafe ECONYL bag purchase goes to the Pacsafe Turtle Fund.


7. For more ideas about sustainable products for endurance athletes, check out this list compiled by AskMen.


As you head out for trail runs this week, or really any time, take a moment to soak in your surroundings. And think about how your actions help – or undermine — protecting nature for generations to come.