A Note of Thanks


By Jennifer Walker

I’d like to thank the unsung heroes of the trails I run on every day. No, not the park rangers. They get enough admiration with those high-paying jobs of theirs. I’m talking about all those thoughtful folks who leave bags of dog poop on the trails.

Some of you might be reading this and thinking, “Wow, it’s about time someone thanked me for my efforts,” and you’re right. I am that person; this is that moment. As an avid trail runner, I think it’s important—nay, necessary—to not only send my warmest regards to you, but to also specifically point out what each of your contributions has done to help improve my running game.

First, training on technical trails is crucial when preparing for tough races, but not all of us are lucky enough to live near the rocky, root-covered terrain we’ll be competing on. However, having to constantly leap over and nimbly sidestep dozens of your purposefully placed poo parcels, I’m now equipped with the skills I need to remain light on my feet.

The fear alone of accidentally falling into a bag of doggie doo is enough to keep me alert and agile. Occasionally, I’ll hear a fellow trail runner complain about having to navigate the seemingly endless stream of baggies, but I see it as a win as I’m forced to concentrate even harder on proper footing. A single misstep could send me stumbling into one of your cleverly planted crap bags and derail my race season with a nasty case of pinkeye. Alas, I’m more mindful than ever, and it’s all thanks to you considerate citizens.

Second, as a female runner who is often out on the trails alone, I tend to find comfort in each sack of stool I pass. Not only are those little green bags helping hone my running skills, but each is a sign of life: I’m not really alone out there. Moreover, if I feel unsafe or vulnerable to attack, I’m reassured knowing all I need to do is bend down, grab a bag, and voila! I have a ready-made poopy projectile perfect for launching at would-be enemies.

Third—and perhaps most importantly—you’ve inspired me, beautiful dog dung abandoners. If I’m out for a long run and the gels aren’t agreeing with me, I might find myself in an awkward situation where I have to hide my excrement under a rock. Sure, I could carry a shovel to dig a cat hole, but my pack is already laden with so much, and having to take out a cumbersome shovel would really slow me down. But now I’ve realized I can poop like your pooch! The bags are so small and light, they barely take up space in my pack. It’s the perfect solution to all my waste woes. But don’t worry, I promise to circle back and pick up my poop…if I remember. If not, I’ll ease my guilt knowing that little bag of poo is going to help train another runner just like me.



  1. HA

    ok as a dog owner and trail runner… Oh yeah I have absolutely considered putting a lil roll of poop bags in my pack… 😂😂😂

    I’d cart them out though, no need to risk forgetting or need to backtrack.

    • Jennifer Walker on

      Yes! This might only be half satire as I *might* already have a roll of bags in my vest…and I don’t run with my dog. 😉

  2. Remember that bagging is only half the job, folks. Too many “good samaritans” leave those bags knowing full well they’re not carrying them out. That’s entitlement, not heroism. Please….

  3. I’d rather have the poop on the ground than a plastic bag littering the environment! The poop will be there for a short period of time. Maybe an animal will come by and eat it. But those bags will be there for thousands of years!!! Pack it in Pack it OUT!


  4. John Bryan on

    At least your slob dog owners bag it! On our local rail trail there are sections I’ll only run at dawn after a day or so of hard rain to rinse the piles off the trail. Otherwise it’s playing dog droppings roulette…thanks dog owners, you’re just the best !

  5. Micah Ward on

    I pick up my dog’s poop in plastic bags from the grocery store. I get the plastic bags for that specific purpose even though I feel like I get the stink eye from other shoppers using their reusable cloth shopping bags. My plastic bags are used for two different purposes but still wind up in the landfill for who knows how many years. So what is the bigger insult to the planet, the plastic bags or dog poop?

  6. I could never understand why someone would take the time to bag it but then leave the bag there. I secretly hoped that they were just leaving it there to pick it up on the way back but you are probably correct in thinking that they do not intend to carry it out. There have been many times when I’ve carried my dog’s bag of poop for an hour plus. It smells and its not fun, but it’s my responsibility and I take that seriously.

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