Fell running is a popular and well established activity in the Dales. It may seem that walking up a hill is hard enough work without trying to do it as fast as possible, but there is a tremendous exhilaration to be gained from travelling fast and light on the fells.
It is also a sport that is very low cost to get into with the only real requirement being a decent pair of running shoes. There is a large calendar of events with something happening most weekends, and nearly every show in the Dales has an accompanying fell race. These are often shorter and less strenuous events for which entries on the day are accepted, and they include classic short races such as Burnsall and Kilnsey.
The premier race in the Dales is the Three Peaks fell race which takes place every April and traverses the famous Yorkshire Dales mountains of Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside. This is one of the oldest, most famous and best organised fell races in Britain. First run in 1954, the race covers 24 miles of the most rugged and spectacular countryside in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, taking competitors to a height of 2,500 feet above sea level. The course record is held by English international Andy Peace of Bingley Harriers, who completed this gruelling challenge in 2 hours 46 min. 03 sec. The women's record of 3 hours 16min 17sec is held by another English international Sarah Rowell.
In 2008, the annual Three Peaks Race was run as the World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge, a prestigious international event which attracted over 100 overseas competitors as well as the best runners from the UK.
The Fell Runners Association is the controlling organisation of the sport and joining provides a comprehensive calendar of all fell races as well as information about safety and equipment. For more information visit the Fell Runners Association website.
The Three Peaks Race website also contains more information.
If you fancy a go but would like to be guided by a qualified physiotherapist and experienced runner, check out the offer from Jelley Legs.