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MARCH 2021 – FELL RUNNING AFTER LOCKDOWN
Many of us are aching to get back to the fells and hills – clean air, magnificent views and hopefully find some peace in our mad world. I’ve almost forgotten what a proper hill looks like. The edge of the Vale of York is no place to coop-up a Fell Jogger.
I understand that the FRA are very busy at the moment licensing races and releasing the details onto the website. It’s a “watch this space” at the moment for which races will take place. The good news is that a Nidd Fell Champs is on the cards for 2021.
However, in anticipation of forthcoming competition, as we emerge from Lockdown there are quite a few rule changes in the world of fell racing for 2021. Click this link for the full rule changes but the main changes for Nidds are likely to be:
- GPS for navigation NOT allowed in any FRA licensed races – for better or worse the debate is now over. They can be used for recording your route, or emergency purposes. If used for the latter you’ll be deemed to have retired from the race.
- Clarification that map & compass means a physical compass, not an electronic one.
- Dual pricing now allowed for FRA members/non-members, not unlike UKA races. [However, tiered pricing and heavily commercialised adverts are not allowed.]
It has become clear that as the number of off-road races has grown over recent years the differences between fell, trail, XC, ultras, challenge hikes/runs etc had become blurred. The FRA believes it is essential that fell running retains its unique character and that the distinction between fell running and other disciplines is made clear. The risk to competitors in fell races is higher than in most other disciplines, with higher ground (and often worse weather), tougher terrain and more difficult navigation. The Principles and Rules are in place to recognise that.
The FRA were concerned that many newer competitors to fell races haven’t always got to grips with these differences between fell races and other off-road competition such as trail races, ultras, charity, LDWA and other professional organised events to name but a few. You should always read the organisers specific requirements/rules and not assume what you know from one type of event naturally transfers to others.
The following documents on the FRA website (and now Nidd Valley) all draw the threads together:
- Principles of Fell Running, now also enshrine the concept of self-sufficiency, self-navigation and non-commercialism.
- The Runners Rules, including the all-important kit requirements (which are a great checklist if you take to the hills at any time).
- Leaflet – “Hypothermia. How to avoid it and what to do if you get it”.
I could go on for ages more, if you’d let me.
If you’d like any further deciphering please do contact me on email@example.com
FRP Phil Robinson
Nidd Valley Runners – FRA Ambassador