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Mountain running falls into just one main category:

bulletFell running

The fell running association (FRA) is a nationwide club / organisation and publishes a book of approx 1000+ events each year.

Many of the events are short distance up and down a hill from as little as 2 miles but literally straight up and down, to the middle distances of 10 ish miles to long distance which is the class for all mountain races over 15 miles long. There is then a further category which is called Mountain Marathon which are multi-day events with a long course on each of the days.

bulletShort
bulletMedium
bulletLong
bulletMountain Marathon

All fell running is off road on hills and moors and most of the long distance events require navigating with compass and map (not easy in fog, clouds and rain) and they require that you carry survival gear consisting of survival bag, emergency food, first aid kit, foul weather clothing, torch and whistle, etc.

Many a day the weather has been bright blue skies in the morning then an hour or so later up in the hills, clods and rain roll in with no apparent warning..!!

Some events are single day events like long mynd hike, 50 miles with checkpoints on the summits of 8 hills, the aim of these events are for you to be able to navigate to the controls with the last one being the finish. These often require skills like night navigation and are purposely started at mid day so that everyone has to run during the night.

The other events which I adore are Mountain Marathons.... The highest grade of orienteering where you have to carry ALL food, tent, clothing, etc. right from the start. The events usually consist of different categories depending on standard, and have appropriate distances and difficulty of controls for each class of competitor.

I have been competing in the A class and the solo class, which are the hardest and the second hardest groups... on big events like the KIMM where there are over 2000 competitors, over 200 per class, the mountains are full of runners, but each category have different list of control co-ordinates and each competitor in each class has  a staggered start usually 2 minutes apart to prevent following.

As you cross the start you are given a list of grid references and feature which you need to find, and in classA you will cover between 15 and 25 miles on open hills often without any defined paths. The last control of the day is the camp site where your time is recorded and you set up camp for the night. You get to mingle and eat food etc. but in bad weather it is not so pleasant. For racing we have very light weight tents and clothing as bulk and weight slow you down so we often sacrifice comfort for speed.

One of my favourite races is a 3 day mountain marathon which covers between 65 and 80 miles incorporating 24000 feet of ascent, all competitors run solo and it is a very friendly with little emphasis on competition and lots on enjoying the hills and event.

 

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Copyright 2002 Challenge Meredydd: Deca Ironman World Chapionships
Last modified: 12/01/08