Santa Barbara, CA- Six years ago while training for a tough 36 mile trail race called 9 Trails, Nancy Kaplan and a friend named Brett Larsen spent many miles together. When she was often running the routes of SB, she would see the same people. At the time no organized group for those who like to lace up and hit the trails. "When I began running trail in Santa Barbara there were no organized groups and people would just randomly run into each other," said Kaplan.
So, she and Brett discussed the idea of starting a group. "Many Santa Barbara trails are very technical and often remote, so the need to be safe and find others to run with was imperative," she said. "In addition, starting a group would allow for camaraderie and education between runners."
Beginning with about forty runners, the SBTR today is a well established group of about 400 runners that get together for morning runs and weekend races."We have trail runners are of all abilities but many are well accomplished and have run at least one 50k with several running 100 mile races," said Kaplan.
Besides running, the group gets together to help maintain the trails, raise money for non-profits and volunteer at races crewing and manning aid stations. Most of the group communication is done through Facebook- a platform that not only helped the group grow to be one of the larger run groups in town but also provided a place members go to post photos and to share articles and stories to help fellow trail lovers. "Having others to run with is motivational and seeing others post and hearing their stories about their various races or trail experiences is inspirational," she said.
If one is looking to join the group or is visiting SB and looking for some fellow runners to hit the dirt routes with, the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/santabarbaratrailrunners/ is the place to go. "Individuals join our group to be among experienced trail runners who know the trails, equipment and training and to have others to run with. Unlike road running, you spend many more hours on trails and it is much more entertaining to have others with you," said Kaplan. We have the opportunity to run among deer, bobcat, birds of prey, coyotes, wild turkey, quail, rattlesnakes, lizards galore, not to mention butterflies, grasshoppers and ladybugs. Our trails bring us across streams, by waterfalls, the ocean, lakes, or reservoirs traveling across pebbles, rocks and fossils. All of this is so worthy of sharing with others."