Empowering the Trail Running Community: Enhancing Safety, Health, and Inclusivity Through Revised Trail Running Standards

Dear Trail Running Event Organizers, Runners and other valuable stakeholders in the sports,

The thriving growth of trail running has sparked a range of valuable discussions surrounding safety, health, inclusivity, and environmental considerations. In response to constructive reviews and feedback garnered from recent events, including those within the realm of Philtra Recognized Races (PRR) and beyond, as well as various concerns brought to our attention, we enjoin everyone to embark on with us in addressing these issues and enacting revisions to the Trail Running Standards.

Our goal is to improve trail running for everyone. “We would like to remind all trail runners that the most crucial safety aspect is understanding and respecting one’s limits. As trail event organizers, it is essential to be aware of our responsibilities, and we hope that the PRR label will be used with the utmost commitment to adhere to Trail Running Standards.”, Tin Ferrera, Secretary General

The revisions have been made in consultation with medical doctors, led by Dr. Marc Molina, as well as UPM members during the DEI sessions (Read Here), trail running event race directors who are part of the forum of PRR.


RACE PLANNING AND CONDUCT:  Proper race planning and conduct are essential for a well-organized event. Here are some important revisions and additions we would like to emphasize to trail race organizers:

Sections: I-G- 1 Course Creation: A run-through of the course should be done as follows:

  • Pre-Race Inspection: Conduct a pre-race inspection of the entire course to ensure it is safe and ready for the event. Address any issues promptly.
  • Course Testing: Organize course testing runs to identify any potential hazards or problems.

Sections: I-G-2 Medical Stations: Identify locations for medical stations and ensure they are adequately equipped and staffed.  A comprehensive emergency response plan should include Standard Operating Procedures (SOPS) on when there is a need for 1) the evacuation of injured participants, 2) communication with medical services, and 3) coordination with local authorities, among others.  Organizers and the partner ambulance response team should have necessary contacts with nearby hospitals.  Medical stations should be identified and shown in the map. 

Section I-M- Safety: Pre-identified extraction points and re-routing plans should be established in areas where potential hazards exist, including checkpoint cut-off points and sections of the route that may be susceptible to sudden weather changes.

SECTION II – D.  Central Command Center – There should be a designated location/personnel or team equipped with necessary communication technology for tracking, monitoring, and responding to any runner-related incidents, coordinating with medical personnel, race marshals and officials, and local authorities. 

In addition, we wish to emphasize the importance of Section I-G-3 and 4, which states: 1) Determine the locations of aid stations, stocked with water, nutrition, and basic medical supplies.  and 2) The course should be clearly marked with visible signage and trail markers. Markings must be checked and refreshed regularly before the race.

In addition, we encourage organizers to institute efforts to make the event environmentally friendly. Please see Section II-G for guidance on this matter.


MEDICAL AND HEALTH CHECK- Trail running can be physically demanding and challenging, especially in remote or rugged environments. Requiring a medical certificate helps event organizers ensure that participants are physically prepared and healthy enough to tackle the course, reducing the risk of accidents, injuries, or medical emergencies. The requirement for a medical certificate varies from one event to another. Organizers should clearly communicate the race profile, difficulty, and potential hazards for participants to adequately assess and gauge their preparation and race plan. Trail runners should likewise always consult with a healthcare professional to assess their fitness and health, whether it is required or not.

Section I-L   Medical Certificate and Health Checkup – Organizers must consider the need of requiring a medical certificate during registration.  This can vary depending on the type and location of the trail race. Shorter and less challenging trail races may not require a medical certificate, while longer and more demanding races, especially those in remote areas must have this requirement. Participants should be informed of these requirements well in advance, allowing them to plan and prepare accordingly.

A pre-cardiovascular screening must be included and recommended for participants.  The following tiers are recommended:

  • Tier 1 – Medical Certificate plus Stress Echo
  • Tier 2 – Certificate plus Treadmill Stress
  • Tier 3 – Certificate plus ECG
  • Tier 4 – Certificate plus Waiver not to have a test

Section I-H- Websites and social media pages must provide additional and more detailed information which should be easily accessible and updated for any changes.

Section II – A.- RACE BRIEFING. Runners should be briefed to assist distressed runners and to immediately report to emergency numbers or nearest marshal or medical/aid station. 


Diversity, Equity and Inclusion- We recommend that the following policies are included in the race entry form and a special provision for woman be considered.  Moreso, the race should ensure that they have DEI policies in place.

Sections I-G-3- AID STATION  For ultra distance-event, a separate woman changing area and period supplies must be considered.  

Section I-G-4- RACE DEFERMENT POLICY A deferment policy for pregnant woman should be in-place.

Section I-N: DEI: The event must create an environment where people of all backgrounds, abilities, genders, races, and identities can participate, compete, and excel without discrimination or barriers.  This should be reflective in the use of inclusive language and communication.  The event should raise awareness (organizing team and participants) and ensure that the provisions of Republic Act No. 11313 also known as the “Bawal Bastos” law are followed. The said law penalizes catcalling, wolf-whistling, misogynistic and homophobic slurs, unwanted sexual advances, and other forms of sexual harassment in public places, workplaces, schools, as well as in online spaces. GENDER EQUALITY:  The event should provide equal opportunities and resources for both men and women in matters related to awards and prizes, participation and media coverage.  Event should consider providing special facilities for women especially for ultra distance races (i.e., changing room, period supplies, among others).   Event should have special provision for race deferment in case of pregnancy from its woman participants. ADAPTIVE AND PARA-SPORTS:  Event may encourage the participation of athletes with disabilities in adaptive and para-sports. CULTURAL COMPETENCE:  the event should respect diverse cultural practices and traditions within the participants. This helps to avoid misunderstandings and to create a more inclusive atmosphere. LGBT++:  The event should ensure there is no discrimination, racism, homophobia, and other forms of prejudice for members of the LGBT community and ensure their increased participation and representation within the sports organization.  Events are encouraged to add a non-binary category to recognize the LGBT++ sector during the awards and ranking.

SECTION II – H Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity – The conduct should have a positive and respectful culture that celebrates the uniqueness of each other.  


TRAINING REMINDERS: Lastly, trail running does not only happen during events, but the majority of it occurs duringour regular training days. Philtra wishes to advise runners to follow the following:

  • Know the area where you plan to run.
  • Let at least one other person know where you are heading and your expected return, or log your plans with the jump-off point registry.
  • Run with a buddy or take a map/upload it to your watch if you are unfamiliar with the area.
  • Be prepared for the weather and conditions and plan for the worst, considering the likely duration of your run.
  • Carry enough hydration and nutrition, especially for longer runs in remote places where rescue efforts can be treacherous.

A mindset for safety and sustainability will help ensure that risks are minimized. This approach will help in ensuring the long-term growth of trail running for the benefit of organizers and trail runners alike. – Atty. James Roldan – President

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