Fell Running in the Lake District, England

Since the 19th century, Fell running (otherwise known as hill running or mountain running) has become a huge part of British running culture. Starting in the mountainous region known collectively as Lakeland, the tradition of Fell running started when King Malcolm Canmore was searching for a strong runner full of vigor to be one of his messengers.

Testing his subjects on the rigorous terrain, also known as fells, eventually led to the fells being used to prove physical strength for more than just becoming a messenger. Field events, sprinting, and other activities all derived from the one parent branch which started it all.

Fell running requires tons of mental strength and even more physical strength to battle the constant inclines and declines strewn out along the winding paths ahead. It’s not as scary as it can come out to be though, as there are beautiful, extraordinary sights to see as you clamber up the hills and mountains.

Plus, hill training is quite possibly one of the best ways to build up useful strength and muscle mass for speed. Taking part in a Fell race only shows off your ability to push through with great fortitude.

Want to take part in this amazing activity? Head out to the Lake District in England. The culture and history has grown a massive following behind Fell running, and it is quite breathtaking as an area.

Blencathra, an 868m tall hill in the Lake District. Image credits go to Cottage Escapes.

Some hills are more gentle in the region, while others prove to be tough for even the hardiest of runners. The entire region of the Lake District encompasses a national park, so while you spend your time exploring the area, you can also view the sights and set up camp for a fun trip. The views available are just excellent.

It’s recommended that you bring trail running shoes with heavy lugs that can grip into dirt and rock, otherwise you might not get any traction on the courses. Unlike a road race, Fell running can get extremely messy and dirty, with mud flinging everywhere and water flooding the shoes. Cross-country spikes aren’t recommended, despite the rugged terrain, thanks to the amount of rock that will just make the spikes scrape and slide off of.

In the Lake District, there’s tons of rock. Similar to Greece, it’s not a place to grow food – rather, it’s a place to explore and pit yourself against nature’s nasty self.

Courses to Try:

The extent of courses available are huge; one set of events to watch out for are the Total Warrior races. Don’t expect an easy race, however. These are tough and require great willpower and vigor to complete. It will certainly be an experience of a lifetime, however.

For longer distances, the Lakeland Trails Half-Marathon and Full-Marathon might be more interesting, with an additional bonus of a near-constant view of the third largest lake found in the area, called Coniston Water. Around the lake is much gentler than other courses found in the Lake District, meaning that despite the inclines and declines, the distance will still be manageable.

A lot of history is found at this lake, especially since the Romans mined copper from the fells nearby, with copper extraction continuing up until the 1800s.

Scafell Pike, the tallest mountain in England with an elevation of 978m. Image credits go to Cottage Escapes.

The biggest mountain, Scafell Pike, is one of the biggest attractions to the area. This is by far the hardest peak to climb, but gives a sheer awesome view as a reward. The Cumberland Fellrunners Association holds annual events in the Lake District, with one held at the Scafell Pike. If you’re prepared for a challenge, try out the event.

Make sure to get your hill training and strength training it though, you’ll need it! We have a guide for proper hill training here, which can help you take your fitness to the next level.

Finally, here’s a guide which can help you make sure that you’re ready for Fell running (provided by Craig Manor Hotel!) It’s an amazing experience, and here at Runners Equipped we recommend you to try it out. Maybe, just maybe, you’ll fall in love with Fell running and never switch back.

There is only one way to find out!

Featured image courtesy of Tony Hadnutt under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license. Edited by altering colour tone.

Infographic to Fell Running:

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