Biggest trail race pet peeves!

This is where you vent about your biggest pet peeves with trail races you have done. What are things that have left a bad taste in your mouth at trail races you have done, what are things you wish were added? Are shirts at every single race really necessary?? from sign up process to running to ending… let’s hear it.


I’ll start it with some of mine. aid stations must have what is promised and have enough for all paying runners and they must be where they say they are going to be.
markings at turns are extremely important and this seems to be one of the biggest things i have seen and hear about often. thankfully I have been lucky and have only gone the wrong way once but many very experienced racers end up miles off course at many events.
please make the distance at least somewhat close to what is advertised. i understand with in 800meters but when you start getting close to being a full mile off… C’mon man.
as racers and participants we need to know the course but the RD needs to do their part.


Haha, one thing that drives me crazy is racers who get all curmudgeonly when you try to pass.

Trust me folks, if I’m passing you, you’re time/place is irrelevant!


I have NO use for T shirts , for me it’s either a snazzy ultralight weight wind breaker ( good quality but super light- trailrunners always need new Houdini like jacket) OR just give me. T-Ring . But make T-shirt’s an extra option :slight_smile:


I’m interested to see how this thread pans out. I can imagine those responding falling into one of two very different camps.

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I’ve been ultra/trailrunning since 1994 with 300+ races that UltraSignup knows about and dozens that it doesn’t. I’m extremely grateful to every single organizer for the experience and had zero to complain about until 2020. All of you have been welcoming and supportive and minor things don’t matter, it’s usually a multi-hour quest against nature and yourself. Well, OK… a minor peeve… if there’s an aid station that has an out and back to it from the trail, that AS is never optional. If you don’t go there, you will have run less than others. I don’t think this should be subject to dispute, organizers just should communicate that to the runners in pre-event and pre-start info.

But. This. One. Time.

When in late 2020 certain organizers forced a bunch of paid runners out due to permit quantity reduction well in advance of the race, and when I asked for money back, banned me for life. Note the race wasn’t canceled, there was an option to accommodate the overflow on the adjacent Sunday or even Friday and dozens of other organizers chose it when forced with a similar situation.

Covid has been tough on all of us and I personally am extremely understanding even to those who went out of business and kept my money. I’m cool with organizers canceling due to fire, flood, etc. and I don’t expect a recourse, been there myself. But intentional disrespect, I can’t handle. You shouldn’t be organizing events if that’s your attitude, try bitcoin or something, it will work better for all of us in the end.

Thank you.

Vladimir Gusiatnikov


All I want is a “race only” tier of pricing. 95% of the swag I’ve gotten just sits in a bin somewhere. I’d much prefer to race for less $ unless it’s a major event like WS/big city marathon or a unique mdeal/buckle.

One other thing I could potentially complain about is just being honest in the race description. Some RDs really hype up races as brutal/savage/whatever adjective and it’s barely hilly or half of it is on forest roads/rail trail. I understand the sales pitch aspect of the job but it gets old fast sifting through these.


100% agreed. most of the shirts are garbage IMO. some of them are pretty cool and i would purchase one at the race but would rather not have it in my sign up fee.

I ask because I am putting a race together in SE Idaho and want to get a feel for what people are thinking. I run several trail races and I have loved every single one of them. my favorite one is really cheap and the top finishers get cash prizes, I love that! my goal isn’t to make a ton of money but to instead make an epic event. dropping. thank you for the feedback!

I have put on over 20 races, just small ones, all started when COVID hit and shut down races. I enjoy finding unique things that runners may not have gotten from a race, such as a hat, sticker, engraved glass or just a special piece of pie. Runners who do a lot of races do not necessarily need another t shirt. So finding something unique is my goal. Also this keeps costs down and you can do more races that way. Races for our group or 40-50 people are more gatherings that keep us uplifted and in shape. Grateful to be able to run!