What is Fell Running?
Here’s an interesting (well I thought so anyway..) definition of the word fell from Wikipedia – Fell (from Old Norse fjall, “mountain”) is a word used to refer to mountains, or certain types of mountainous landscape, in Scandinavia, the Isle of Man, and parts of England.
The Pennines, the Yorskhire Dales and the Lake District provide us with some of the best fell running in the country (if not the world) and with Bingley being situated in the heart of the Pennines and within a stones throw of the dales and the lakes, you couldn’t be in a better place to participate in this fabulous sport.
Why should I run on the Fells?
It’s good for you and it’s a great way to explore your local countryside and witness nature first hand.
You can escape from cars and buses and the fumes they exhale and get super fit whilst admiring our fantastic scenery.
You can test your stamina on the uphills and your courage and speed on the descents and at the same time greatly improve your general strength and fitness that will help you with your other sports.
Fell races can vary in length from less than a mile to a hundred miles or more and nowadays many races have junior categories or modified junior courses to allow under 16s to compete.
Most fell races also involve an element of ‘navigation’ (finding your way). Many courses simply insist that competitors get to the top of the hill (a marshal or a trig point) and back and the route choice is left entirely open to the runners. Some races will have a number of checkpoints which competitors must visit and again the route choice between checkpoints is unspecified and a few races are fully marked by flags around the whole course. If you’re new to racing, it’s probably best to select a short race where the course is reasonably well marked or at least the route is obvious and where there’ll be a lot of other competitors to follow. As you improve you’ll no doubt want to test yourself over some longer and more challenging courses and when you reach this point it’s a good idea to learn how to read a map and use a compass.
Do I need any special equipment?
Apart from the above, the only other item of specialist equipment that fell runners use is special off road running shoes. Brands such as Walsh and Inov8 produce a dazzling selection but don’t feel you need a pair before you take to the hills and have a go. That said, unless you’re going to run on very hard and dry trails (unlikely I’m afraid), I would recommend that you use a shoe that has a decent amount of grip on the sole.
How do I start?
Within the ranks you’ll meet English, British and even World champions, you’ll be able to find someone who has run just about every race in the country and ask their advice, there are folk who know every footpath, bridleway, snicket and ginnel that exist in our surrounding area.
Alternatively, just get out and explore your local trails and piece together a few routes that you can run around. As your confidence and enthusiasm grows you might want to test yourself against others in a race (when you train on your own – you’re always the fastest – and the slowest!!) – Log on to http://www.fellrunner.org.uk/junior.htm for loads more info and details of races.
What’s most important though is to take Nike’s advice and stop just thinking about it and go and ‘JUST DO IT’.
Upcoming Junior Fell Races
• Wherever possible wear your Bingley Harriers vest
I would also be really grateful if you could drop me an e-mail on … to let me know you’re running and I’ll then check the results and photos and get you some publicity on our website.Good luck and happy running
Junior Fell Training
9am – 10am most Saturday Mornings from the Bradford and Bingley Club on Wagon Lane.
All juniors are welcome from complete beginners to experienced fell racers. The only equipment requirements are running clothing suitable for the weather and a pair of trainers with good grips. Generally it is a good idea to have a quick chat with me or one of the other coaches before a junior attends for the first time. I am at the club most Tuesdays and Thursdays or contact me via e-mail. Confirmation of training each will be on the club’s Facebook page a few days before so please look there.
Junior Fell Championship
There is a Junior Fell Championship that runs each year made up of 12 races that are fairly local. The championship is calculated from 8 of these 12 races. To be counted in the championship juniors must enter the races naming Bingley Harriers as their club and when possible wear their Bingley Harrier vest.
The details of the championship races can be found here
National and County Junior Fell Championships
Junior Fell Running Links