Beginners information

Myth busting

Ordinary leisure runners competing in 10k's, half marathons and the occasional marathon on roads and trails, often assume that fell racers are slightly mad and hard as nails. Well, some are, but like all running genres, fell races contain runners with a wide range of speed, age, experience and skills. 

  • Anyone can do fell races - running in the hills can be a truly amazing experience and some might say almost spiritual
  • You do not need always to be a brilliant navigator as some races are well marked or follow easy paths or ridges
  • You do not need to run up the hills - there is often a fair bit of walking to be done
   
   
     
   Going up! -Lots of walking going on.
   One going up another coming down
     

Unlike competing in a road or trail 10k you will need some specific skills and equipment to take part in fell races.

Equipment
This is the easy part - waterproof top and bottoms, hat, gloves, bum bag (or very small rucksack), compass and whistle. The clothing requirement varies, depending on weather conditions. There are times when the race organiser requires you to carry full waterproofs... and at other times you need not take any additional clothing. Always turn up at the race with your full gear and ask when you get there what is required on the day. Maps are pretty much always supplied by the race organiser but you may prefer to take your own.

Skills
For most beginners this is the hard part. How can you get the skills and experience you need if you can't even start off? 

Those that have done a bit of a hill walking will probably already know how to use a map and compass. They'll also understand how to be comfortable in all types of mountain weather. That's a good start, and all that they'll need to do is get out there running on the hills, getting used to navigating in bad weather and practicing running over all manner of terrain.

Those that have little hill walking experience and who think of themselves as a 'numpty' navigator will struggle to make a start but don't worry all is not lost. Why not get some experience by going out on a hill run with some other runners. Mountain navigation can be easier than finding your way around the road network with a road atlas - you just need to persuade someone to go out with you and show you the ropes.

Another way to get fell running skills is to go out on a recce of an easy fell race beforehand with someone who knows what they're doing. Also, why not contact the organiser of a fell race and offer to help out - this will give you a good idea of what's involved.