A Girl’s Guide to Running Magazines, Part 3: Trailrunner Magazine

A bit of background:

I’m working my way through some of the running magazines on sale here, and seeing what I make of them!

Part One, Women’s Running 

Part Two, Running Times

Trailrunner Magazine


General info:

  • Easily found at Barnes and Noble under ‘Sports’.
  • Cover price – $4.99
  • Issues reviewed here: July and September 2013 and a very old July 2012 copy.
  • Pagination – July – 70, September – 62
  • Advertising Pagination – July ’13 – 35 pages (50%) and  Sept ’13 – 26 pages (42%)
  • Annual subscription price: $21.99

What did I like about it?

  • Oh my word, the photography. Every page seemed to hold a photo of runners running somewhere spectacular and it made my heart ache to go out for a run somewhere superb!
  • I really loved a couple of articles. One was on the 3 Peaks Race in Yorkshire in the UK. I’ve hiked the 25 mile route in the past (hardest thing I’ve ever done) so it made me happy to see it in the magazine. The other was on the top 8 trail towns in the US. My suburban town wasn’t on the list. Darn.
  • I liked their clothing features – liked the layout and the stuff they chose. I particularly loved that the models they used in the running skirts article were very clearly proper runners and not models. Hats off to you for that, people!
  • This sounds silly but I liked a lot of the advertising. Great photography and often ads for races that look fantastic!
Real legs!
Real legs!

What was I not so keen on?

  • It’s a bit gnarly. Maybe even a little elitist? It seemed very focussed on Ultras and the super-cool, long-distance crew. Nothing really for beginners or those who don’t run ultras! Interestingly, there was a letter in the July letters section mentioning this – a lack of coverage of shorter distance races. I totally agree. I would never suggest that the magazine dumb down or change its core audience – experienced trail runners. But with the influx of new runners taking to the trails in the past year or so, including articles intended for them would be useful.
  • Very little ‘how to’ information. Training plans, how to run the downhills – that kind of thing. Maybe I’m just too much of a beginner.
  • The advertising percentages are kind of ridiculous! 50% adverts? Come on!
Great photography
Great photography

Overall Thoughts

  • I found Trail Runner to be pretty inspirational – it made me want to get out and run trails, and also introduced this relatively new US resident to some beautiful parts of the country!
  • I don’t know if I’ll be subscribing but I’ll definitely be picking up future editions.

Next up: Runner’s World

(Yes, I know EVERYONE’s read RW and my humble thoughts are inconsequential, but it would be weird NOT to include it in this little series).

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Yitka Winn says:

    Hi Cathryn,

    Thank you for taking the time to turn a thoughtful eye to our mag and offer your impressions! Always great to hear feedback from our readers, both positive and constructive. We actually just hosted a discussion on trailrunnermag.com, as part of our monthly Symposium, on whether the trail-running media (ourselves included!) are too focused on the ultra distance, with garnered many thoughtful responses from readers and bloggers: https://www.trailrunnermag.com/training/3-ultrarunning/799-too-much-ultra
    Hope you also get a chance to check out trailrunnermag.com and our weekly enewsletter, Inside Dirt, which features heaps of unique content (beyond just what’s in our print mag) … lots of great service, beginner-oriented content there, too on training and some of the other topics you felt lacking in our most recent print issues.
    Happy reading!

    Yitka Winn, Associate Editor, Trail Runner magazine

    1. Cathryn says:

      Hi. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to the points I raised, I really appreciate it. Thanks for pointing me towards the extra information sources – I’d had a quick look at the site but not explored it properly, and the Inside Dirt newsletter sounds really useful. I’m also going to check out what other readers felt about the Ultra bias! Thanks again!

  2. Bean says:

    I thought this was a great review. I have been interested in picking up trailrunner because I want to be one even though I don’t run trails that often- you and Yo Momma are inspiring me to embrace them- but when I have paged through this magazine before for some reason found it a bit intimidating and not beginner friendly. But I think I might give it another chance after reading this. I also think it is very cool they responded to your review- you are a bit of a big deal! 😉

    1. Cathryn says:

      Ha, not at all, they found me through twitter but I was hugely impressed they left a comment! Do try buying an edition… The photos are amazing!

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