Trail Runners Pay Tribute to Trails
In its 11th year, the "Tribute to the Trails" Calendar Project was established as a fundraiser for the Washington Trails Association (WTA).
For the last 11 years, photographer/runner, Glenn Tachiyama and WTA board member/runner, Wendy Wheeler-Jacobs have collaborated to create the “Tribute to the Trails” calendar as a benefit for the trail running community and fundraiser for Washington Trails Association. And they’re not slowing their pace!
Much like the sport of trail running, the “Tribute to the Trails” fundraiser has grown significantly. In its first year, the fundraiser raised about $600. This year, they contributed more than $26,000! “The trail running community is pretty tight," says Glenn. "We want to do what we can to support trails.”
I had the opportunity to talk with Glenn and Wendy about their project. Here’s what they had to say.
How did the idea for the calendar first come about?
Glenn: About 10 years ago I first started documenting races I attended, not really intending to do anything with the photos other than share them with friends. Then one day on a run in Discovery Park three friends of mine came up with the idea to compile the best photos in a calendar and use it as a fundraiser. I knew Greg Ball and WTA seemed like the natural fit. We wanted to find a way to give back to the trails we love. Wendy and I work together on it. It’s a team effort.
What are some of the biggest challenges of the project?
Wendy: When we first started out, it was challenging to find sponsors. We had to explain what we were doing and why. Today we’re fortunate to have several long-time sponsors of the calendar, and new ones coming on board each year. The biggest challenge now is finding space to list all of the races! Trail running is really growing as a sport and there are more events every year.
Glenn: Coordinating all of the details. Each year from September to November this project takes over my life.
What do you find most rewarding about trail running?
Glenn: I went into it from a competitive standpoint but there’s a lot more to it than that. It’s an escape and an opportunity to get away from the city. There’s just something about being in nature, someplace that is untouched. There’s so much beauty out there! Washington is such a diverse state and there are so many amazing places to see.
Wendy: I began trail running as a kid—before I knew it was a sport! I love being outdoors and on trail. Whether I’m enjoying a solo trail run, or on an all-day run with a friend, trail running combines two of my favorite things—running and being in nature. It’s a way to get into the back country and explore.
What are some of your favorite trails?
Glenn: For me, Tiger Mountain is the benchmark for other trails. It always seems like an adventure at Tiger.
Wendy: I like the Loowit Trail, it makes a nice loop. I like to get off the beaten track.
What would you tell someone who is thinking about getting into trail running?
Wendy: Take advantage of group running events and races to see different parts of the state. Challenge yourself to expand your horizons. Trail running opens the door to lots of new places to explore—break out of your routine and don’t just run the same trails again and again!
Glenn: Get some good shoes and just enjoy it! Give it a try and see.
Thank you Glenn and Wendy! And thank you to all who bought calendars, the local retailers who offered the calendar for sale, and companies who made a gift, matched contributions and underwrote the cost of printing. Your contribution helps WTA speak up for our trails and wildlands.