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.
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 most fell runners, 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 spaced 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.
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.
WFRA races are categorised in terms of their technical difficulty with Category ‘A’ being the highest technical grade requiring previous fellrunning experience and a good level of fitness as the race is likely to cross high, exposed and possibly remote mountain terrain where ‘sound mountain judgement’ will be required.
Also in terms of length:
Some additional safety information can be displayed:
Eg: Tour of Torpantau AM, ER/NS/LK - fell racing experience required, navigational skills needed and worth doing a recce beforehand.
A Welsh Fell Runners Association (WFRA) fell race is one registered by the WFRA.
Factors including weather and terrain mean that fell racing takes place in a hazardous environment. Competitors must have appropriate experience in the conditions that may be encountered so that they can manage their own safety.
The Race Organiser (RO) has a duty of care to competitors but competitors must accept that race monitoring arrangements, e.g. marshals and checkpoint recording are primarily designed to ensure ‘fair competition’ and must not be considered a ‘safety net’.
A competitor enters a race on the understanding that they are responsible for their own safety. The competitor must obey all instructions from the RO and officials and must equip and conduct themself accordingly.
The WFRA’s Requirements for Fell Races comprises:
Breach of a rule by a competitor may result in disqualification from future WFRA (and FRA licensed) races for a period determined by the WFRA Committee.
RO’s are required to organise their races in accordance with the WFRA’s requirements. If requirements are not met, the WFRA may withdraw insurance cover for a particular race or impose other sanctions.
As a condition for entering any WFRA race, the competitor shall:
The use of GPS devices for navigational purposes is not commensurate with the ethos of our sport. The use of such devices is no different from flagging the whole route of any race for someone using such a device. GPS track use takes away a fundamental element of our sport – that of route choice and finding your own way using mountain-craft, (as well as map and compass).
Fellrunning is a simple sport - you have some hills and some checkpoints to visit. You use your skill and fitness to get between these points as fast as possible. Sometimes the RO flags it if they want you to go a certain way, or gives specific instructions. Other than that, it is up to the runner - that is fellrunning.
The widespread use of GPS devices for navigational purposes threatens the fundamentals of our sport.
At WFRA registered races, you are allowed to:
In an emergency: You are, of course, allowed to use a GPS device to navigate yourself to safety, but must declare yourself as a ‘non-competitive’ participant at the finish.
You are not allowed to:
Please see the following summarised safety requirements for competitors noting that:
The WFRA aims to ensure a welcoming and equal space for everyone involved in the sport of fell running. All WFRA members, and all who participate in WFRA events must abide by the WFRA Code of Conduct. This includes:
In the event of an incident occurring during a race, for example an accident, damage to property, an injury or indeed anything which concerns you, please report this to the Race Organiser or other race official either on the day or as soon as practicable afterwards. The rule of thumb is, the more serious the incident, the more promptly it should be reported. In certain circumstances such incidents may need to be reported to the police, another emergency service or relevant authority.