Advice and Guidance
General Fell Race Information
The philosophy of fell running is that you the competitor are responsible for your own safety and that you enter a race with this understanding and that you equip and conduct yourself accordingly.
It is therefore essential that you must have appropriate experience in the conditions that may be encountered so that you can manage your own safety.
Full Kit List
- Waterproof/windproof top
- Waterproof/windproof legs
- Food and Drink as needed for the conditions
- Own map of race route (optional - maps are provided but are often poor)
- Something to carry above in if not needed (Bumbag/Rucksack)
You’ll need to take all of the above with you to the race - even if it looks dry when you leave home. At the race the Race Organiser (RO) will make a decision as to what you need to take with you. When you know what kit you must take with you, you then have to make a decision as to what to wear and what to pack. If like me, you’ll be pondering this right up to the start!
Most fell runners stash all their kit they’re not wearing into a ‘bumbag’ but some use a hydration sack (small rucksack designed to carry minimal gear and a water bladder).
Sometimes you’ll carry nothing at all, your compass and map if you need them, can go in a pocket.
Perhaps the most important piece of equipment are the shoes you wear. Pictured below are the Inov-8 X-Talons. The main characteristics of a good 'fell' shoe:
- The grip is provided by widely spaces studs - these clog up with mud less than shoes with treads or closely grouped studs.
- There is less mid-sole so they have less cushioning but your feet are in closer contact with the ground for a better feel of the terrain underneath.
- The shoe fits the shape of your foot more snugly so your feet do not move around inside the shoes, giving you better control when traversing and descending.
Choosing waterproof tops:
The governing body for all the races within this website (WFRA) states:
“Adequate whole body cover, e.g. windproof or waterproof top and legging to give protection against the effects of wind chill, hat and gloves to protect you against hypothermia or heat exhaustion/ dehydration in the severest conditions likely on the day.”
No where is it stated that it needs be made from breathable fabric like Gore-Tex/Event etc. Something cheap is fine
It is perhaps best to take both a windproof top and a waterproof top to the races. Windproof tops like those made from ‘quantum pertex’ can be folded up to fit in the palm of your hand. This kind of top is ideal - it will keep you warm in a chilly wind – but it’s not a lot of good if it’s raining hard.
For very wet conditions you'll need a waterproof. There isn't a lot of point using an expensive Gore-tex winter walking waterproof for a fell race. For those that have run on the hills in bad weather, you will know that there is no garment that will keep you dry as when you sweat the moisture will just end up getting you wet from the inside. So called breathable fabrics do cut down on moisture trapped inside but for most runners they make little difference when running hard in a race.The purpose of a shell type windproof garment is to cut down on wind chill - It’s all about being as comfortable as you can when wet.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that for a short fell race like Craig Yr Allt you won’t need the full kit. The RO may demand it if the weather is bad and you may well end up being glad you wore it! It’s very easy to become hypothermic if you need to slow down or walk for some reason. Hypothermia kills more people in the hills than anything else.