Trail Roots

Running Community in Austin, TX

Improve Lives Through Running

We focus on developing a tight knit community and new relationships through our trail running coaching, team support, trail-run adventures, and races. Erik Stanley created Trail Roots in 2014 to support the growing Austin trail-running community. Trail Roots emerged to provide focused and customized group training and individual training for all levels of runners in Austin in a guided and safe environment.

Running trails is beneficial for the road runner because the ancillary and stabilizer muscles are engaged much more than during runs on the road.  Because of this, trails are a great option for injury prevention and working other parts of the body that remain mostly unused on the road. We visit many of the trails in the Austin area and occasionally run throughout the country. Quarterly runcations build community and give the more experienced trail runners a fresh perspective and the opportunity to change up routine. 


Runners who train with us tend to have common goals. These, in general, are to improve and challenge one’s physical and mental capacity and to give back to the community. Our programs do this by providing the support and guidance needed through the group members and the coach. For our community, Trail Roots has created ways to give back and maintain the land we love and use. We host bi-monthly volunteer and clean-up days in our city and state parks.

Training Method

The training consists of 1 to 2 hill or speed training workouts each week during the weekdays with 1 weekly trail long run on Saturdays. The locations vary during the week from road, track, or trail. However, the weekend long-run is always on the trail. We take our training to another level by incorporating mobility and hurdle drills and strength exercise routines to keep you healthy and running! We can work with you to create a custom training plan that gives you the tools required to healthily achieve your goals.


Erik Stanley

Coach & Founder

Hi there. I am Erik! I fell in love with trail running while exploring the Colorado mountains in high school. I found this type of running to be more mysterious and adventurous and a place I felt alive.  What makes me a unique coach and leader is my ability to connect on the same level as all of my runners. I've been through many of the same struggles and challenges myself. I look forward to seeing you out on the trail soon!


Trail Roots founder & running coach 2014-present

Erik has coached hundreds of runners in the Austin area and across the country with online coaching. He has trained dozens of Boston Qualifiers, 100 mile runners, as well as intro level runners learning to run for the first time.

Focused on goal setting, speed improvement, weight loss, diet planning, and self empowerment.

Ran for Adidas Rogue Athletic Club, a post collegiate olympic development team in Austin, Texas focusing on 1500m and 5,000m

Personal Bests

400 - 49s - 2004
800 - 1:52 - 2007
1500 - 3:41 - 2007
3k - 8:07 - 2005
5k - 14:09 - 2005
8k - 23:51 - 2005
10k - 29:30 - 2011
13.1 - 65:56- 2010
26.2 - 2:24:41 - 2018
50mi - 7:14 -2012 (Trail)
100k- 9:21-2013 (Trail)

Career Highlights

2018 - CIM Marathon - 2:24:41
2017 - Had a Baby
2015 - Leadville Trail Marathon -4th
2015 - Statesman Capitol 10K - Champion
2015 - Paramount Break-a-leg 5k - 1st & Course Record
2014 - Austin Turkey Trot - Champion
2014 - 3M 1/2 Marathon - Champion
2013 - Bandera USA Champs 100K - 4th
2012 - Cactus Rose 50 mi - 1st & Course Record
2012 - Big Sur Trail Marathon - 1st & Course Record
2012 - Tx Relays 5K - 1st
2012 - Steamboat Trail 26.2 - 2nd
2011, '12,'14 - Bandera 25K - 1st & Course record
2011 - Angel's Staircase 25K - 1st & Course Record

NCAA Highlights

University of Texas 2004-2008
NCAA All American - 1500
Big XII Champion
Penn Relays Champion 2006,2007,2008
4 X Mile School Record
Athletic Director's Honor Roll


Rachael Blair


Hi! I'm Rachael.  I am an ultra running veteran! My focus is working with the Trail Discovery Group, where I can really help shape new runners's perspective. I love taking time to show new runners all of the benefits Austin trail running can offer. While my passion is endangered species conservation and environmental issues, I also love pugs, coffee, and mashed potatoes.

Starting as a member in Trail Roots, it became a perfect way for me to meet Austin runners who now are my friends!  Some of my favorite places to run in Austin are Hill of Life, Barton Hills and Tarrytown. I have competed in 18 ultra-marathons and 29 road marathons including 11 Boston Marathon finishes. One of my bucket list races is the Comrades Marathon in South Africa.


Joe Cooper


Hi! I am Joe. I've been wandering through the outdoors my entire life! However I worked in health care for 10 years before moving into health and fitness coaching. I was overweight, unhealthy, and out of shape. One day I decided to make a change for the better, and I left my job. I lost over 30 lb and have never felt better. While I am definitely competitive (mostly with myself) running has helped me connect with my spirit. Running has helped me through multiple bouts of depression and has become part of my self care and therapy.

I love coaching with Trail Roots because I get to help others discover the therapy that running can provide and perhaps uncover some talents of their own.

There is nothing better than getting out on a long run and disconnecting from the modern, urban world. My favorite local race is Hell’s Hills where I have four consecutive Top 5 finishes in either the 50K or 50M. I have competed in 16 ultra-marathons  and 5 trail marathons!



Tribe Leaders

Our goal is creating meaningful relationships with all of our members and we do this through our "Tribes". When you join Trail Roots you will be placed into a Tribe and each Tribe, led by a "Koda" (featured in the photos above). Tribe placement is based on where you live, your running pace and race interests. 

When you come out for your first run you will be paired with a Koda to make sure you are connected with another member and that you leave with a better understanding of the Trail Roots community. Tribes do many things outside of running, such as providing post-run snacks, happy hours and social events, as well as community outreach."

Koda is short for Dakota which is Souix for "friend or ally" 


Since I started running with Trail Roots in March of 2015, I have had the opportunity to be a part of a very close-knit community. I feel grateful for the connections I have made with the runners in this group. The coach and creator of this trail group, Erik Stanley, encourages people of all skill levels to join. He does a phenomenal job at carefully selecting different courses and workouts every week to keep it fun and challenging. I have personally worked 1:1 with Erik and have found his encouragement, knowledge, and experience to be very helpful with accomplishing my goals. Erik also organizes various events to help runners get to know each other and have some fun together outside of running.
I have so many good things I could say about Trail Roots. I had never joined a running group and decided to try it out and train for a marathon, with the hopes of qualifying for Boston. I signed up for private coaching once a week and joined in for the Thursday morning working from Barton Springs. The training helped me improve my marathon time by 20 minutes and I was able to run Boston 2016. I have to say though, that the best part of joining wasn’t the training, but the support and friendships formed from being in the group. In my book, Trail Roots is the best running group in Austin with the best coach, Erik Stanley!
— Lisa
I joined Trail Roots at the urging of a friend in early 2016, but in truth I had been considering the group since meeting coach Erik Stanley when he won the Statesman Cap10K. I was inspired first by Erik’s strength. Then, after talking to him, I was struck by his humility and complete lack of ego. I was also intrigued by his new running group. Fast forward a few years and I finally decide to run with the group. But the amazing thing about this group is it isn’t about him. It isn’t about just one person. Trail Roots is solely focused on creating a community of trail beasts of all levels. We all support one another and lift each other up. Everyone is welcome. And everyone has the opportunity to feel challenged, improve, work hard, but also to chill out, too. It is a very balanced, very real, very fantastic group of amazing athletes led by an incredibly thoughtful and inspiring athlete. I am honored to be on this team and don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon. My only regret is that I didn’t join sooner.
— Mercedes
Training with Trail Roots has been a fantastic experience! Erik is a top notch running coach. He is kind, humble, energetic, and motivating, and, naturally, he attracts a group of runners who value and try to live out these qualities. It is a very welcoming and positive group, and we have a lot of fun while working hard. I have gotten much stronger and improved my form, endurance, and confidence through the group trail runs and speed workouts. Erik helps facilitate communication outside of our meeting times so that we can build relationships with our fellow teammates. It is inspiring to be able to train with experienced Austin trail runners who are able to offer advice and encouragement to newbies like myself. I also joined Trail Roots for a fully supported trail running adventure! The group trip to Truckee, CA was the most fun running experience I’ve had! Each day was well-planned with scenic running routes, outdoor adventures, and delicious home-cooked meals.
— Alexandra
I knew after the first workout that I was in love with the group dynamic and the training structure. That first workout took us along (unknown to me) Austin’s greenbelt territory (despite having logged vast numbers of hours along Barton Creek). Not only were other runners pushing me hard, but the trail was fiendish, technical, and unforgiving - just the sort that I like. Before, during, and after the run I found the interactions with group mates and Erik himself to be really enjoyable. New austin running routes were explored, Hill Of Life to Cedar Chop hill repeats were crushed, track and road workouts built speed, and camaraderie and the competitive spirit were always present. Everyone that stuck it out under the coaching plans seemed to have big gains in fitness, myself included. I went into road and trail races with a lot of confidence and with legs that were so much stronger than those I’d forged on my own without any direction. The race results and placings spoke volumes in terms of doing things right. Whether one is looking to shrink their road marathon time or do well in some of Texas’ spectacular trail races, this holistic coaching approach to training really is effective.
— Joel S. of Austin, TX
When I began running, I did not know what trail running even was! I never thought I would run a marathon. I was attracted to running in a group and exploring Austin in a different way. Fast forward to 2014, and I have a ton of running friends and can call myself an ultra-marathoner. Trail Roots Running club has been an integral part of that. With Erik as my trail running coach, I have reached heights and goals that I didn’t know I would ever have when I first began running. He has fostered a wonderful community of trail runners and is extremely knowledgeable about the specialized equipment trail runners need (and sometimes just want). I have watched Erik accommodate a wide variety of trail runners, all while introducing us to new trails in the Austin area or increasing our familiarity with those we thought we knew. Erik’s love of nature and the trail running community matches mine, and I’m happy and grateful to consider him a friend and coach.
— Emily