Why don’t women want to run? Trail running and ultramarathons have exploded in popularity but female participation still lags behind.

On this week’s podcast we discuss with Trail Hub organiser, runner, mother and teacher Valerie Lagarde the tricky topic of gender diversity on the trails.

Listen: The Adventure Trail podcast – Diversity in trail running

Ultramarathon finishers increased about 17-fold between 1995 and 2015, according to Ultrarunning magazine.

But female participation rates for races up to 80 kilometres are around 30 to 35 per cent, but for 100km distances and longer it drops to 25 per cent or below.

Hong Kong’s largest race in terms of numbers taking part, the 100km Oxfam Trailwalker, was just 22.2 per cent women.

Lagarde points the finger at advertising, lottery systems, socialising women at a young age and a lack of initiatives to account for pregnancy.

Some counter-argue the responsibility lies with women, and if there is a problem they should stop blaming ‘the system’ and sign up for races themselves.

The Adventure Trail podcast, episode one: John Ellis talks pain in ultramarathons and how to deal with it

It is a topic that stokes emotion and questions norms. Female participation is growing, but there is some way to go yet so whose responsibility is it to make change happen?

The Adventure Trail podcast covers a wide range of outdoor topics from trail running to massive expeditions and everything in between.

Mark Agnew and Mary Hui bring on guests to probe pain, perseverance and more nuanced subjects.