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Champion runner Victoria Wilkinson reaches the flag at Hebden Sports fell race Stephen Garnett Photography

Fell running

Fell running is one of the Yorkshire Dales oldest sports.

It may seem that walking up a hill is hard enough without trying to do it as quickly as possible! But there is a tremendous thrill to be gained from travelling fast and light on the fells.

Running outside is not only free, but an exhilarating mood enhancer too. The only real equipment needed is a decent pair of running shoes.

There are nearly 50 unique fell running events taking place in the Yorkshire Dales throughout the year. From small and simple to some of Yorkshire’s biggest and best days out, there is something for everyone, no matter your age, background, fitness or experience.

And fell races have long been at the heart of the Dales’ traditional annual shows and fetes, creating a spectacle like no other for those cheering the runners on.

How can I take part?

The online map at Run the Dales will help you find out when and where races are held and the other fun stuff taking place around them including all links through to entry information. All the locations on the map host at least one fell race during the year.

If you are looking for a race in or near a picturesque village with a great pub, try Cracoe, Dent, Embsay or Kettlewell.

For fell races with a bit more happening, such as music, food and fun stuff to do and watch, visit Arncliffe, Buckden, Burnsall, Halton Gill or Hebden.

The biggest days out are at the Dales’ many country shows. Starting early and finishing late, their fell races are just one of many inspiring things to enjoy, alongside animal shows, art, crafts and culture, horse racing and events, celebrity chef demos and artisan food markets. Take a look at the shows at Gargrave, Kilnsey, Malham, Muker and Reeth.

New to fell running?

On the Run the Dales website you can get the inside view from young runners, champion runners and event organisers to find out the best races for beginners and those offering the right kind of challenge to more experienced athletes.

Cooling off!

Find out how to get started in the sport, how to train and what you need – just a pair of good running shoes and a sense of adventure will do it!

The website also brings to life the stories of the sport’s remarkable past, through the words, voices and pictures of some of its down-to-earth superstars.

Three Peaks Race

We can’t talk about fell running without mentioning the Dales’ premier race. The Three Peaks Race takes place every April and traverses the famous Yorkshire Dales mountains of Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside.

This is one of the toughest and most famous fell races in Britain. First run in 1954, the race covers 24 miles of our most rugged and spectacular countryside, taking competitors to a height of 2,500 feet above sea level.

The course record is held by Andy Peace, who completed the gruelling challenge in two hours, 46 minutes, 3 seconds. The women’s record of 3 hours, nine minutes, 19 seconds is held by Victoria Wilkinson. In 2008, the annual Three Peaks Race hosted 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 Three Peaks Race website contains further information. You can also discover some of the stories behind this event and other famous Yorkshire Dales fell races at Run the Dales.

Despite The Three Peaks Race requiring advance entry and minimum fell running experience qualifications, for most other fell races in the Dales, you can simply just enter on the day and run!

How to find out more

The Fell Runners Association (FRA) is the controlling organisation of the sport. Joining the FRA provides a comprehensive calendar of all the UK’s fell races, as well as information about safety and equipment. Visit the Fell Runners Association website for further information.

Most Yorkshire Dales fell races are organised by BOFRA (British Open Fell Runners Association). Visit their website for further information.