No Running! In a baffling bit of municipal regulation, a Tennessee park has banned trail running for “the safety of folks.”
The city of New Brentwood, Tenn., prohibited trail running in the Marcella Vivrette Smith Park, according to The Tennessean.
The 320-acre park has about six miles of hiking trails affected by the running ban that has us shaking our heads.
Local runners have taken up a campaign to open to the park to running.
“The trails are IDEAL for running, they are wide and they are well groomed…there is space enough for everyone to enjoy this place, runners and walkers alike,” posted the Facebook group Runners For Ravenwood to the city council.
“We appreciate you guys — but we need city planners focusing on city business not concerning themselves with micro managing personal safety decisions. I would be equally outraged if you told the elderly they could not walk on the trails.”
Brentwood City Manager Kirk Bednar says the city is concerned about the safety of runners and others using the trails.
“Our position is that right now this is the first time we’ve had a park of this kind in terms of the natural types of running trails and the trip hazards associated with that, and we’re really trying to be conservative with the use of those trails with how widely used they’re going to be,” quotes the article.
It’s unclear how these regulations will be enforced or what the penalties for breaking stride on the trail will be, but it’s hard to think of any precedent for such “no running” regulations outside a middle school hallway or public swimming pool.
While trail running may come across as a new and foreign concept to some, the simple extension of hiking and walking has grown to include thousands of races across the world held on everything from fire roads to rugged single track high in the mountains.
We wish the Tennessee runners well in their effort to open the trails and hope the city officials are wise enough to learn a little about trail running — and maybe give it a try themselves — before making knee-jerk decisions about the sport in the future.