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Encyclopedia > Fell running

Fell running, also known as mountain running and hill running, is the sport of running and racing, off road, over upland country where the gradient climbed is a significant component of the difficulty. This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


Fell races are organized on the premise that contenders possess mountain navigational skills and carry adequate survival equipment as prescribed by the organizer.

Contents

History

Racing up and down hills has a long history in the north of England and throughout Scotland and Wales where most of the UK's hills are found. The sport appears to have started, and been sustained, as a part of many community fairs and games. In the highlands of Scotland these became highland games and across the North of England they were fairs or sports days. The sport was a simple affair and was based upon the community's values for physical ability as were the other sports found in these games such as wrestling and heavy events such as throwing the hammer. These fairs or games events were often commercial as well as cultural. One might find music and dances as well as livestock shows and sales. For the sports in a community of shepherds and agricultural labourers comparisons of speed and strength would be interesting to spectators and a source of professional pride for competitors. A fast shepherd or a strong labourer would be as respected, one imagines, as any top ranking colleague in a more modern employment. Opening ceremonies of 2004 Canmore Highland games Highland games are festivals held throughout the year in Scotland and other countries as a way of celebrating Scottish and Celtic culture and heritage, especially that of the Scottish Highlands. ...


Like most of these sports the early events were probably in some way professional. The rise of amateur sport in the Victorian era brought a change to the sport, a change that was to eventually create the modern sport with more complex and longer courses that make less of a spectacle for spectators but a more modern endurance running sport.


Overlap with other sports

Modern fell running has common characteristics with cross country running. Courses are often longer, steeper, unmarked when out on the hills (with a few exceptions) and these longer races can demand mountain navigational techniques. Nevertheless, cross country seems fast and furious to many fell runners. Fell running also overlaps with orienteering. Courses are again longer but demand different techniques from orienteering. However, fell running does require navigational skills in a wild, mountainous environment, particularly in determining and choosing between routes. Category O events and Mountain Marathons (see also below), test navigational ability — attracting both orienteers and fell runners. The Minnesota State High school Cross Country Meet A cross country race in Seaside, Oregon. ... The international orienteering symbol. ... Mountain Marathon - an extended fell race, usually over two days and often with a strong orienteering element. ...


Rocks

Fell running does not involve rock climbing. Races avoid rock climbs and are subject to change when any ground nearby becomes unstable. A small number of fell runners who are also rock climbers nevertheless do attempt records traversing ridges that allow running and involve scrambling and rock climbing — particularly where the record is 24 h or less. Foremost of these in the UK is probably the traverse of the Cuillin Main Ridge on Skye, and the Greater Traverse, including Blaven. Nor does fell running involve expeditions. Race records vary from minutes to, generally, a few hours. Some of the mountain marathons do call for pairs of runners to carry equipment and food for camping overnight. Even the most extreme fell runners will tend to ”bite” at a record that stands 24 h or less — often a "round" that ends at the start line. The exceptions to the extreme fell runner are attempts at a continuous round of Munros. Mountaineers who traverse light and fast over high Alpine, Himalayan or through other such continental, high altitude are considered alpine style mountaineers. Climbers on Valkyrie at the Roaches. ... Look up H, h in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... The Cuillin from the north The Cuillin are a range of rocky mountains located on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. ... Looking towards Quiraing, Skye. ... Blaven, from the Scottish Gaelic Bla Bheinn (Blue Hill), is mountain on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. ... Car camping is camping in a tent, but nearby the car for easier access and for supply storage. ... Aonach Eagach, a popular ridge between two munros in Glen Coe, Meall Dearg and Sgorr nam Fiannaidh A Munro is a Scottish hill with a height over 3000 feet (914. ... Mountaineering is the sport, hobby or profession of walking, hiking and climbing up mountains. ...


Time and course

Fell races are generally run annually and over an established sequence of checkpoints. A marked route may lead runners from the start onto the open hill and back from the hill to the finish. Where the route is unmarked, a runner may choose their own route between the ordered checkpoints. Even so, routes between checkpoints tend to be well established for fell runners in fine weather, if not the popular route, and may involve a choice. The runners decision when there is a choice of routes will generally depend on the weather, visibility, surface conditions and their ability to ascend at that point in the race.


Organizations

The organizations that organize fell running are as follows. The Fell Runners Association publishes a calendar of 400 to 500 races per year. Additional races, less publicised, are organized in UK regions. In Scotland, all known hill races (both professional and amateur) are listed in the annual calendar of *Scottish Hill Runners*. In Wales, the Welsh Fell Runners Association provides a similar service. Northern Ireland events are organized by *Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association*. Again, races are run on the premise that a contender possesses mountain navigational skills and carries carry adequate survival equipment. In Ireland events are organised by the Irish Mouountain Running Association. They have a full calendar at *Irish Mountain Running Association* There is a very popular series of runs organised around Dublin on Wednesday evenings. These are designed to encourage people to enter the sport. No previous eperience is required. Just turn up and run.


Fell running for novices

Fell running is a reasonably accessible sport, requiring little in the way of expensive equipment and facilities. As with all running sports a reasonable level of fitness is required to participate. However, unlike other endurance running sports, there is an additional small but very real risk of death on longer races where exhaustion and poor weather in remote areas infrequently leads to death from exposure. Unlike most distance running where really severe exhaustion means sitting on a pavement waiting for help; help might be hours away and temperatures may plummet in the mountains whilst the fell runner wears only light clothing. Look up exposure in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Most fell runners begin by initially trying a short race. Even the most fit and fast road, track or cross country runners can benefit from a couple of weeks of including sharp climbs and descents in their training to prepare untrained muscle groups.


Race categories

Courses are categorized by the amount of ascent and distance.


Ascent categories

Category A
at least 250 ft (76.2 m) of ascent per mile (1.6 km)
should not have more than 20% of the race distance on road
should be at least one mile in length
Category B
at least 125 ft (38.1 m) of ascent per mile (1.6 km)
should not have more than 30% of the race distance on road
Category C
at least 100 ft (30.5 m) of ascent per mile (1.6 km)
should not have more than 40% of the race distance on road
should contain some genuine fell terrain

Distance Categories

Category L
for Long - over 12 miles (19.3 km)
Category M
for Medium - over 6 miles (9.6 km)
Category S
for Short - less than 6 miles (9.6 km)

Additional categories

Category O
also known as a Long O event
checkpoints are revealed to each competitor when they come up to a “staggered” start
entry by choosing an orienteering type class, such as a Score-O event and often as a team of two (pairs)
Category MM
events also known as Mountain Marathons and Mountain Trials
similar to Category O, always long, in wild, mountainous country with entry as pairs

The international orienteering symbol. ... Mountain Marathon - an extended fell race, usually over two days and often with a strong orienteering element. ...

Three example "classic A" races

  • Wasdale Fell Race AL 21 miles (33.8 km) 9,000 ft (2743.2 m) male record 3 h 25 min W Bland 1982, female record 4 h 19 min J Lee 2006
  • Ben Nevis Race AM 10 miles (16.1 km) 4,400 ft (1341.1 m) male record 1 h 25 min K Stuart 1984 female record P Haworth 1984
  • Blisco Dash AS 5 miles (8.1 km) 2,000 ft (609.6 m) record 36 min J Maitland 1987

Footwear

Modern fell running trainers use light, non waterproof material to eject water and dislodge peat after traversing boggy ground. While the trainer needs to be supple, to grip an uneven, slippery surface, a degree of side protection against rock and scree (loose stones) may be provided. Rubber studs have been the mode for two decades, preceded by ripple soles, spikes and the flat soled ‘pumps’ of the fifties.


Walshes are extensively used by many UK runners, especially in the Lake District, where their sole pattern gives excellent grip on steep grass. Shoe manufacturers such as Inov8 and Montrail are also leading the chasing pack to try to make better and better shoes to compete with Norman Walsh's design. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...


History

The name arises from the origin of the English sport on the fells of Northern Britain, especially those in the Lake District. However, the Cotswold Way Relay, for example, also qualifies as a fell race under Fell Runners Association rules. A tradition of males from the Lake District villages running up and down fells in annual shows existed in the early nineteenth century. The Ylläs fell in Finland Fell (from the Old Norse fjall, mountain) is a word used to refer to mountains, or certain types of mountainous landscape, in parts of England and Scandinavia. ... This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Typical Cotswold Way marker. ...


Though the Lake District is generally acknowledged as the origin of Fell Running the earliest hill race may have been in Scotland. Hill running was evidently being practiced in a precursor to the Braemar Gathering in 1064, the latest date given for a competition organized by King Malcolm Canmore. Braemar (Scottish Gaelic, Baile a Chaisteil Bhràigh Mhàrr) is a village in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, around 58 miles west of Aberdeen in the Highlands. ... Events Sunset Crater Volcano first erupts. ...


"Professional" races at annual shows, known as Guide Races in the Lake District, combined with amateur races in the 19th Century. Though under the banner of professional, at best the prize money would pay a week’s wages. During the major part of the 20th century the two categories ran as separate sports where a runner could only change categories after withdrawing from competition for a period of quarantine. Quarantine rules were eventually abandoned although professional races continue with a low profile. In the latter years of the 20th Century, prize money would generally be less than the value of mountaineering items awarded in an amateur event. Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999...


As a minority sport, fame and fortune are no incentive. Rather, fell runners express a common desire to be in ‘the hills’.


The Fell Runners Association was inaugurated in April 1970 to organize the duplication of event Calendars.


Fell runners have also set many of the peak bagging records in the UK. In 1932 the Lakeland runner Bob Graham set a record of 42 Lakeland peaks in 24 hours. His feat, now know as the "Bob Graham Round" was not repeated for many years (in 1960); by 2003, however, it had become a fell-runner's test-piece, and had been repeated by over 1060 people. Building on the basic 'Round' later runners such as Eric Beard (56 tops in 1963) and Joss Naylor (72 tops in 1975) have raised the 24-h Lakeland record considerably. The present record is of 77 peaks, and was set by Mark Hartell in 1997. The ladies record is of 62 peaks, set in 1994 by Anne Stentiford. Peak bagging (also hill bagging, mountain bagging, or among enthusiasts, just bagging) is a popular activity for hillwalkers and mountaineers in which they attempt to reach the summit of each peak in a region above some height, or having a particular feature. ... In 1932 the Lakeland fell runner Bob Graham set a peak bagging record of 42 Lakeland peaks in just under 24 hours. ...


New Irish Round

The Irish Mountain Running Association has organised a very challenging round. The Wickow Round is a long distance run covering 27 peaks in Wicklow. It totals over 100K and over 6,000M climb. It is governed and ratified by the Irish Mountain Running Association. There are three finishing standards, Gold – Finish in under 12 hours , Silver – Finish in under 15 hours, Bronze – Finish in under 24 hours. It has been said that the gold standard is beyond human achievement. Full details are available on *Irish Mountain Running Association*


External links

  • The Fell Runners Association organizers in the UK with links to regions, events and clubs
  • World Mountain Running Association
  • Scottish Hill Runners for Scottish race calendar and news.
  • Welsh Fell Runners Association for Welsh race calendar and many other services.
  • Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association For N.I. race calendar and other services
  • Irish Mountain Running Association
  • The Bob Graham Round
  • Fell & Rock Climbing Club of the English Lake District long walks and runs in the English Lakes
  • Scottish Hill Racing Information on clubs, runners, races and results for Scottish hill racing.
  • Pudsey and Bramley AC West Yorkshire Fell Running Club based in Leeds.
  • Glossopdale Harriers Fell Running Club Friendly club based East of Manchester on the edge of the Peak District.
  • Waterproofs or windproofs for fell running?

  Results from FactBites:
 
Fell running - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1754 words)
Fell running, also known as mountain running and hill running, is the sport of running and racing, off road, over upland country where the gradient climbed is a significant component of the difficulty.
Fell races are organized on the premise that contenders possess mountain navigational skills and carry adequate survival equipment as prescribed by the organizer.
Hill running was evidently being practiced in a precursor to the Braemar Gathering in 1064, the latest date given for a competition organized by King Malcolm Canmore.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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