Junior Fell Running

Fell running involves running over a mix of terrains including bogs, heather, scree and fields. It requires stamina to run up a very steep hill and bravery to come back down as quickly as

Photo: Dave Woodhead

possible. Bingley Harriers has always promoted fell running as a great way to build stamina, strength, skill and teamwork. We boast English, British and even Olympic champions in our ranks; both Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee used to run in our junior fell races.

For juniors in particular, fell running is a great introduction to racing:

  • There’s very little running on roads, so there’s little worry about traffic;
  • It’s not as rigid as other forms of racing, as you get to choose the best route between check points;
  • Races cost a few pounds to enter and everyone gets a goodie bag and certificate for finishing.
  • There are races to enter all year round.

The best part, though, is the people. You won’t find a friendlier more supportive bunch than the fell running community. Many events are held in the summer and there’s often a gala or fair nearby, so it’s a great day out for all the family. In winter you can nearly always find a cake stall with tea, coffee and pop (though that’s better as an incentive for after the race, rather than before!).

Training

Everybody can run, but not all of us know how to run efficiently and effectively. When we learnt to swim our parents didn’t just throw us in the pool and leave us to do the doggie paddle, they sent us for lessons to learn breast stroke, freestyle and back stroke properly. The same applies to running, you have to learn to do it well.

Training takes place on Saturday mornings at 9:30. We meet in the carpark at Bradford and Bingley Rugby Club on Wagon Lane opposite Beckfoot School. From there we run to a nearby wood for a varied session, focussing on stamina and technique, which could involve:

  • Practicing good running posture;
  • Learning how to run efficiently up hill;
  • Learning how to run quickly downhill;
  • Picking a route over mixed terrain;
  • Building and maintaining speed.

The sessions will be hard but fun, often involving games and relays to maintain interest.

Attending these sessions, along with those on Tuesday and Thursday evenings, will give a good grounding in speed, stamina and technique.

Kit

Race organisers, such as the British Open Fell Runners Association (BOFRA), require runners to carry kit when taking part in a race. It’s very often a case of ‘No Kit, No Run’, so parents should always check the requirements before entering their child in a race.

The following equipment is MANDATORY for all BOFRA races; bum bags are good for carrying it:

  • Wind and waterproof top including hood (sold as waterproof with taped seams);
  • Wind and waterproof trousers (sold as waterproof with taped seams);
  • Hat and Gloves;
  • Whistle.

Championships

There are various championships for junior runners:

Bingley Harriers Junior Championship

Each year the club organises a championship using races selected from the local area and those organised by the Fell Runners Association (FRA) and BOFRA. It’s open to all junior members between the ages of 6 and 17 and is contested in the following age categories:

  • Under 9
  • Under 11
  • Under 13
  • Under 15
  • Under 17

Ages are as at 31stDecember 2019 (members stay in the same category throughout the year). To be eligible for a prize, members must finish in 8 of the 16 races.

The following prizes are awarded:

  • Ken Smith Junior Fell Cups (best boy and girl performances);
  • Ken Smith Trophy (most improved runner);
  • Best newcomer (not having previously raced on the fells for the club);
  • Winners in each age category;
  • Everyone who completes between 8 and 11 races;
  • Everyone who completes 12 or more races.

Full details can be found here.

Bradford Athletics Network (BAN) Junior Fell & Terrain League

As the club is affiliated to BAN, members can compete in the league without needing to register or pay an entry fee to BAN (they still need to pay race entry fees). Many of the races are the same as those in the club’s championship.

Details are on the BAN website.

BOFRA Championship

The 2019 BOFRA championship comprises 15 races with the best 8 performances to count. Please note: you must be a paid-up member of BOFRA to claim championship points.

Details are on the BOFRA website.

FRA & Yorkshire Championships

Details of these championships can be found on the FRA website, which is an excellent resource for all things fell running.

Contact

Gary Childs, Junior Fell Team Manager
07894 835594 / garychilds@talktalk.net