Better Together – Our 2024 Theme

The American Trail Running Association’s (ATRA) advisory board enthusiastically shares our 2024 theme, “Better Together.” This year’s theme has many different interpretations, not the least of which is the fact that togetherness creates and builds community. That togetherness can be far reaching and include partnerships, mentorship, coaching, collaborations, and multi-user experiences on the trails.

The theme is meant to support and celebrate inclusivity and diversity and is focused on learning from one another, helping one another, and reaching individual and collective goals.

Each year we use a theme to guide our editorial decisions and initiatives over the next 12 months. By designating a theme we are able to focus our programming and have a targeted inspiration for our Trail News stories and social media content. Our first in a series of “Better Together” articles will be published in early January.

ATRA President Adam Chase in his natural environment.

Comments from ATRA team members

ATRA president Adam Chase said, “2024’s theme of gravitation and coordination is more about our community and the appreciation for nature than it is running in groups. Trail running, a silent sport for many, is often a solo endeavor. But the promotion and celebration of it, now that’s a “the more the merrier” sort of thing we can all support!”

ATRA treasurer Lin Gentling opined, “Even venturing out to experience the trails alone, there is a feeling that you are part of a fraternity. Anyone who trail runs knows the benefits of being outside.”

Board member Corinne Trujillo Shalvoy shared her thoughts, “Better Together is illustrative of the inherent ‘passing down of knowledge’ that the sport of trail running is known for. It speaks to the opportunity we have to grow the sport in a collaborative way, utilizing the stories, lessons and values that everyone in the sport cherishes to better trail running as a whole. While trail running is in many ways an individual sport, it has become what it is today and will become what it is tomorrow by our collective passion.”

Corinne Trujillo Shalvoy on the trails.

Board member Andy Ames noted, “I volunteer as a trail ambassador at a popular local trailhead. Each week a get to witness old friends and new acquaintances meet up to start their run, together. When they return, I see their happy faces as they recount their time spent together and plan for their next adventure. For these folks, together really is better. Personally, I prefer to run solo, but I am never alone.

“Today I was lucky enough to meet a new acquaintance, a long-tailed weasel. Other days are spent with old friends, the grass and trees and possibly the Mule deer. So whether you go solo or with others, trail running truly is better together.”

Board member Ian Torrence remarked, “Trail running can often be construed as a solo sport. Distracted by the beauty around us and the fun we’re having, we might sometimes forget how the trail we’re running on was built, the land conserved for our use, or how the event we’re participating in was pieced together. ATRA’s 2024 theme “Better Together” reminds us that it takes a diverse and collective effort—the friends we run with, those who enjoy other trail sports, legislators, land owners, event organizers, volunteers, neighbors—to protect, foster, and create the trail community we love so much.”

Ian Torrence before a trail run.

ATRA themes through the years

“Better Together,” is our eight annual theme and follows last year’s Celebrate Youth on the Trails, 2022’s Trail Running is for Every Body, 2021’s Resilience, 2020’s Climate Action, 2019’s Trail Running Responsibly, 2018’s Trail Stewardship: Leaving a Lasting Legacy, and our 2017 theme Community: Building Trail Running Connections.