What is Fell Running?
A quick guide to Fell Running can be found here
Is it easier than Road Running?
Anyone with a reasonable level of fitness can do hill or fell running. Like anything it gets easier the more you do it. Most runners walk up parts of the hills and run on the flat and downhill parts, even in races. With experience and stronger legs you start to run a bit further up the hills each time. There is no pressure in races to meet time goals, and it is far softer terrain to run on than road. It won’t detrimentally affect your road running or speed, unless you are training for really fast, very short road races / track events, and it will make you a stronger runner over longer distances.
It is a lot of Fun!
Finding the best ways across boggy paths, staying on narrow ridges, running through woodland and down rocky hills provide exhilarating experiences of exploring, and the pleasure of running in some of the most beautiful areas of the country.
Reaching the top of a summit can sometimes bring amazing views, weather allowing. Most races start and finish at a pub, and fell runners are amongst the friendliest runners around. Races are far cheaper than equivalent road races, between £3 to £10 usually.
It is a lot safer than you would expect!
Runners tend to pick up more injuries from running on the road – particularly Achilles, calf injuries, and from running mile after mile on tarmac. If you fall over on the hills and fells your landing is more than likely going to be a soft one.
Because you are focused on where your feet land, the chances of falling are less than on the roads as you will be concentrating, and being more cautious on the descents. Once you have got used to running up and down hills, the chances of picking up strain injuries are limited. There are dangers associated with weather conditions, getting lost, and straying over edges, however if you carry weatherproof clothing, and respect the mountains and weather conditions the risks are low. In the UK (with the exception of some parts of Scotland) you are never too far from a road and way back to safety even if you have not gone the way you had planned when you set out for your run.
Most runs round where we live involve a hill or two – try running up Moel Famau once a week, and you will find by week 6 it gets easier and you will be running further up before you start to walk. Look on facebook, as quite a few of the Buckley Runners organise sociable weekend runs in the hills.
Try a trail race, or a short fell race. Look at the fellrunners.org.uk website, and the wfra (welsh fell runners association) for list of races.
Good local ones to do include :
- 26.03 – Llantysilio race (near Llangollen)
- 3.5 – Dinas Bran (Llangollen)
- 29.5 – Mynnyd Myfr hill race (Trefonen, Oswestry)
- 8.6 – The Beast (Meashafn)
- 15.6 – Hotfoot up Famau
- 26.6 Gamelin hill race (Horseshoe pass, Llangollen)
- 3.7 – Alwen trail race, near Llyn Brenig
- 13.7 – The Druid (Llanferres)
- 16.7 – Snowdon race (pre-entry only)
- 27.7 – Green Grass of Home (Llangynhafal)
- 30.7 – Push up the Pincyn race (Clawyddnewydd)
- 3.8 – Ponderosa evening race
- 29.8 – Cilcain hill race
- 1.10 – Ceriog Canter (Glyn Ceriog)
Fell races are classified according to length and the amount of climbing, so try some B events before progressing to the A events which involve more climbing.
What do I need to get started?
It is worth getting studded shoes – INOV8 or PB Walsh tend to be the best ones for all round fell and hill running, which you can also use for cross country. These give you a great deal of confidence on muddy terrain, and when descending.
For longer runs, and for medium and long races, you will need to carry safety equipment. As a minimum, this will be a bum bag (try Pete Bland sports online shop) in which you will need to carry waterproof top, and trousers (with hood and taped seams), a compass, map and whistle. Some races require you to carry hat and gloves, and some longer ones emergency food. You do get used to carrying this, as your pace on fell runs are slower than road races, and there have been times safety equipment has been very necessary when the weather changes.
Good luck and hope to see some of you on the hills !