Fell Running & Hill Running Marathons
There is a long history of fell running in England. This form of mountain running, which has its roots in the north of England, especially around the Lake District, can trace its history back to as early as 1040, when King Malcolm Canmore organised a race in Braemar to find himself a speedy messenger.
By the mid-nineteenth century fell running races were held regularly as a part of community fairs and games. These games tested all different aspects of physical ability, with events that included wrestling, sprint races, strength events like throwing the hammer, and fell running. The most famous of these community events is the Grasmere Sports meeting in the Lake District – it is still held every August, and includes the granddaddy of all fell races, the Guide's Race.
These days fell running is popular wherever there are hills – it quite simply involves running and racing off road over hilly terrain. Also known mountain running and hill running, races test not only the runners’ stamina and agility, but also their ability to navigate and deal with the vagaries of the elements.
Preparing for feel running is fairly simple – you need to have good endurance, be agile, and have a spirit of adventure. This style of running does present challenges you won’t face if you are used to running on the road – the surfaces you run on will vary widely, from grass to soft soil, rocks to sandy patches, meaning that you have to constantly adjust your gait. In addition, the uneven and slippery surfaces mean that you need to take special care not to turn your ankles.
While experts can climb and descend at startling speeds, for a beginner it is best to relax the pace and simply enjoy the pleasure of running in some of the UK’s most spectacular terrain.