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American Trail Running Association (ATRA)

American Trail Running Association (ATRA)

The American Trail Running Association (ATRA) was formed in 1996 as a Colorado not-for-profit 501 (c ) 3 corporation. ATRA’s mission is to represent and promote trail and mountain running. ATRA has individual, club, race, and corporate members as well as corporate partners. One of the highlights of ATRA’s website is its annual calendar which, in 2011, listed more than 2500 events.

The association was formed to address the needs of trail and mountain runners who were previously unrepresented in the running and outdoor industry. Since 1996 the industry has responded to trail and mountain runners by producing more trail-specific footwear and products for the trail and mountain runner including hydration products, cutting edge apparel, energy drinks, and gels. Additional Trail Runner magazine, a publication dedicated to our sport was created in the late 90s. Not to say that ATRA was involved in all of these groundbreaking ideas, but ATRA has certainly been involved in shaping the sport.

ATRA’s goals over the years have remained very consistent with the mission statement. Some of the goals include:

  • Compile & publish a comprehensive listing of nationwide trail running events
  • Educate and provide information about our sport to the rest of the outdoor community, to the media and to non running entities that have similar goals and objectives
  • Organize ATRA sponsored & supported events
  • Be sensitive to the environment
  • Provide a forum whereby the business of the sport can be discussed and organized
  • Create & nurture alliances with other associations
  • Develop recreational participation and provide opportunities for families to enjoy our sport through events and clinics

From 2005 through 2009, ATRA coordinated all of the fundraising and sponsorship for the U.S. Mountain Running Team. Since 2010, the team sponsorships are through USATF, but ATRA still is involved with fundriasing for the team. Each year this national team competes at the World Mountain Running Championships.

Members of ATRA receive subscriptions to both Trail Runner and Running Times magazines as well as discounts to Ultrarunning magazine. The relationship with Trail Runner magazine began at the inception of the magazine more than ten years ago. The Running Times relationship has developed over the past seven years and has been a huge asset to our membership program. In fact, ATRA president Adam Chase edits the two-page trail notes for Running Times.

In addition to membership with the RRCA, ATRA is a member organization of USATF, the International Skyrunning Federation, and a founding member of Running USA. ATRA has provided administrative support for many events and presently organizes the Paint Mines 6k Trail Race in Calhan, CO, and co-directs the Pikes Peak Road Ascent which held its inaugural running in 2011. ATRA’s annual calendar of events, the most comprehensive trail and mountain race calendar in the nation, is updated weekly on our website at and includes trail and mountain races around the world from distances of one mile to the ultra distance events.

ATRA Trail TImesTrail Times is the official publication of ATRA. Now in its 17th year, this quarterly publication features articles on our sport including event-specific reports, training techniques, athlete feature stories, news from USATF, and more. You can view the 2012 Trail Times here.

ATRA Event StandardsIn March 2012, ATRA rolled out its event standards program. This new labeling program includes 15 standards to address safety, course design and marking, terrain, results, awards, logistics, entry limits, entry brochure, delivery, environmental awareness, time limits, financial accountability, impacts, rules/fairness, dogs and music players that are intended to guide race directors through the planning and execution of their events.

Participants, especially newcomers to our sport, will learn about the features they should expect from a well-organized trail race. Race directors can incorporate the standards into their new or existing events. When a participant sees an ATRA label on an entry form they will know that they can expect a quality experience that is worth their investment of training, effort, travel, and entry fee.

We thank you for your support of our association and welcome any suggestions you may have. Please feel free to contact us at

Hope to see you on the trails!

American Trail Running Association
PO Box 9454
Colorado Springs, CO 80932
[p] 719.573.4133
[f] 719.573.4408

Comments from Trail Running Club: Trail Running Club encourages all runners to join the American Trail Running Association. ATRA works hard to keep the sport of trail running moving forward in a positive direction and is our advocate on the national level with corporations, parks and other government agencies.

There are several Individual memberships available starting for as little as $15/year. The best membership value is the $40/year Individual that includes monthly e-blasts, Trail Times newsletter, Running Times magazine and Trail Runner magazine. Subscriptions to Running Times and Trail Runner alone would cost $31.95/year if you purchased them on your own (if you already subscribe your subscription will be extended).

There are also memberships available for Races, Clubs and Corporations.

Please help support ATRA with your membership today!

Join the American Trail Running Association

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This post was written by:

- who has written 1 posts on Trail Running Club.

Nancy has been running trails and directing running events since the mid-80s, as well as having contributed articles and photographs that have been published in magazines including Runner's World, Running Times, Trail Runner, and Ultrarunner.

Nancy is involved with the following running organizations:
• Founder and Executive Director of the American Trail Running Association (ATRA)
• Council member of the World Mountain Running Association
• Manager of the US Mountain Running Team
• Chairperson of the USATF Mountain Ultra Trailrunning Council


Nancy has also co-authored with Adam W. Chase, The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running.

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