What Is Fell Running?

Fell Running is often termed many things, mountain running and hill running are just a few. However its main lineage is from its birth place and that of the Yorkshire Pennines where hills are termed fells. From the Old Norse for Mountain. Although its use is also further north and into Scotland. Fell running is a merging of two sporting houses, cross country running and orienteering, only these courses take place up hills where trees tend not to grow due to the altitude but also not on mountains proper. In the majority of cases anyway, true fell runners would term those people alpine mountaineers.

The sport takes place in the UK, across America and into Europe with a variety of countries having prime locations for fell running or indeed mountain running. Both steep inclines and grassy slopes make for perfect fell running areas. In fell running there are several categories and classes which either grade up or grade down an achievement. It is a competitive sport but many take part for the fun of it. Categories for distance range from more than 20km to less than 10km, the terminology is quit easy to understand, long, medium and short.

The various ascent / descent classes range from A to E, with A accounting for a 50 metres climb per kilometre with 20% of the race distance on road and at least 1.5 kilometres in length. A B class race would entail a 25 metres climb per kilometre and less than 30% of the race distance on road. With C class being 20 metres climb per kilometre, less than 40% of the race distance on road and be of fell terrain in parts.

In Northern Ireland, NIFRA, Northern Ireland Fell Running association run activities and championship races in the Northern Ireland region. Most regions and countries have their own fell running association which organises local activities and contain memberships for that county. Fell Running, due to its nature, is a very strict sport. Should you take part you should be aware of the rules of play. Most courses have markers, but you can orienter your own route between grid positions. No dumping of equipment is allowed and should there be camping on a longer event, guests are not normally permitted.

Fell Running is a growing sport both in the UK and northern Ireland and Europe. There are many tutorials an guides available on site to help you gain the correct exercise and information before you take to hill running and fell running in general. It also helps if you can read a map.