What is Trail and Fell running?
Running on a surface other than pavement or a road is loosely termed ‘off road’ running. This definition can include a wide range of running disciplines such as athletics track, cross country and trail and fell.
Trail and fell running take our sport into the Great British countryside. Through, up and over the woodland, dales, moors and mountains, bringing an element of adventure and exploration to our running.
Next question: what’s the difference between trail and fell? Generally speaking trail runs are in the dales and wooded valleys where the cows graze. Fell runs are on the moors and mountains where the sheep graze.
If we ran along the River Tees from Darlington to Barnard Castle and onto Middleton in Teesdale we’d be trail running. Continuing beyond Middleton in Teesdale to High Force and further to Cow Green reservoir we’d start to encounter fell country but mostly trails. Way out in the wilds passed Cow Green Reservoir into the North Pennine moors we’re definitely on the fells.
As this example shows, there is a progression from trail to fell. The higher and more remote the location, the rougher and tougher the terrain.
Why run on Trail and Fell?
Adventure, adventure, adventure! Trail and fell running will take you to beautiful places you’d never have thought to visit.
Far from the maddening crowd. Trail and fell races have far fewer competitors than road races. More chance of winning a prize.
Fell races are cheap to enter. A half marathon for less than a tenner? Yes.
Encouragement and support from all other participants. Fell runners are a friendly bunch. We have to be. There’s not many of us.
Give your legs some variety. They’ll thank you for it.
Give yourself a challenge. You’ll thank yourself for it.
What do I need for Trail and Fell?
Interest, enthusiasm, curiosity. Whatever brought you to running in the first place. That’s enough to get you started.
There are specialised trail and fell running shoes, jackets, bags and so on and so on. If you decide trail and fell are for you then maybe you’d benefit from specialised footwear and clothing. If you enjoy the fells enough to consider racing then specialised kit becomes essential.
Let’s get started!
Easily done. Look out for the off road trail and fell running sessions on the Quakers training schedule. As always, any questions please ask.