One of the biggest trends in the cycling world has been the explosion of “Gravel Grinding” and understandably. Who wouldn’t rather ride side by side on a quiet country road while getting a more challenging workout. Over the last 5 years gravel grinding has come from being an activity for small groups of cycling outliers to a bonafide discipline and industry for cycling and I feel that running is next.
I realize this statement could easily be debated that runners already have trail running and so why would anyone choose to run a logging or gravel road instead of a trail. However that’s what many thought about with mountain biking but the reality is there are significant differences between gravel grinding, road riding, and mountain biking. Unfortunately we all don’t live at the base of the mountains so it is a trek to participate in mountain biking or trail running. Gravel grinding on the other hand is right at most city limits and why I feel will continue to grow for runners and cyclists alike.
Following in the wheel marks of gravel grinding counterparts (via Strava) i feel that runners are looking for miles of unoccupied hard packed rolling gravel roads to explore and expand their fitness. Enjoying adventures that stop in small town cafes and saloons connected via gravel roads, providing a short window into a slower pace life that many long for in today’s hectic lifestyle.
I am not saying that running down any random gravel road on the prairies is going to draw runners out of the woodwork however there are certain segments of the roads less traveled that are truly spectacular and being exposed and shared every day by cyclists and hopefully it is those gems that find their way to runners looking for variety off of the asphalt and will become more than just fit farmers enjoying these rural routes.