The Braemar Gathering, the father of modern trail running?
We talked about it in this article, the practice of trail running probably goes back as far as there are trails and men to run them.
However, trail running as it is practiced today, especially in competition, is still a relatively recent practice.
When it comes to setting a date for the first trail running race, some people refer to 1832, in reference to the first edition of the Braemar Gathering, a traditional Scottish event held each year in the town of Braemar in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
The event features a variety of games and activities in the Highlands, including caber tossing, hammer throwing and... a hill race! Organized by King Malcolm in 1832, this event was to be used to determine the King's messenger.
The Sainté-Lyon, 1951
In France, the oldest trail race seems to be the SaintéLyon. Initially thought by cyclists anxious to exercise despite the arrival of frost and snow, it is in 1951 that the first timed edition is born. If the first editions were done on foot and over two days, the race quickly evolved to its current format, part of which is done off road.
The Western States, 1977
It is believed that the first organized ultra trail race in the modern sense of the term is probably the Western States Endurance Run, organized for the first time in 1974 in the United States.
Originally a 100 mile horse race, it became a man vs. horse challenge in 1977 after one of its participants had to complete a large portion of the race on foot after his horse was injured.