Trail Running vs Fell Running

Trail Running vs Fell Running

Estimated read time: 5 minutes.

Do you love the outdoors and enjoy running? If so, you may have wondered if there is a difference between trail running and fell running. 

These activities involve running in nature, but they are quite different. In this blog post, we will discuss the differences between trail running and fell running so you can decide which is right for you!

What is Fell Running

Fell Running is a form of off-road running that takes place in hilly or mountainous terrain. Fell runners typically compete in races that range from short distances of just a few kilometers to ultra-marathons that can last for several days.

The defining characteristic of fell running is that it takes place off-trail, which means that runners must be able to navigate their way using map and compass skills. This makes fell running more challenging than trail running, which takes place on groomed and well-marked trails. 

Fell runners also have to contend with steep and rugged terrain, making the sport more physically demanding than trail running.

The History of Fell Running

Fell running originated in Scotland, and the first race was held in Braemar in 1040. King Malcolm Canmore of Scotland organized the race to find a swift messenger.

The sport then spread to England, where it gained popularity among shepherds and farmers who used running to get from one place to another quickly. The most famous events in England are the Lakeland Classics, a series of races in the Lake District.

In April 1970, a group of English runners called the Fell Runners Association was formed to promote the sport and standardize race rules. Today, there are fell running clubs worldwide, and the sport has grown in popularity in recent years.

What to Wear

Fell runners typically wear lightweight trail shoes or fell shoes, with extra spikes on the bottom for traction on soft or slippery terrain. They also wear light and breathable clothing, so they don’t overheat when running in warm weather. In cold weather, fell runners may need to wear additional layers to stay warm.

Best Practice Kit Includes

  • Good trail shoes or fell shoes
  • Lightweight and breathable clothing
  • A map and compass
  • Whistle
  • Emergency Food (Energy bar, Gel, etc.)
  • First aid kit

Benefits of Fell Running

Fell running is an excellent way to exercise in a beautiful natural setting. The sport can also be very social, as many runners enjoy meeting up with friends to train and race together. Fell running can also be a great way to explore new places, as runners often have to navigate through unfamiliar terrain.

If you’re looking for a challenge, fell running is the right choice. The sport can be physically and mentally demanding, but the sense of accomplishment that comes from completing a race is unbeatable. And there’s nothing quite like the feeling of crossing the finish line after miles of challenging uphill running!

The Difference Between Trail Running and Fell Running

Now that you know a little bit more about fell running, you might wonder how it differs from trail running. Both sports take place in natural settings, but there are some key differences that you should be aware of before you hit the trails.

Trail running is considered less hazardous because it takes place on groomed and well-marked trails. On the other hand, Fell running often takes place off-trail and in more dangerous terrain. It can also be more physically demanding because of the steepness and ruggedness of the landscape.

You also need basic map reading and navigation skills to do fell running as you will be going off the beaten path. Most importantly, you must be aware of the potential hazards in the area you are running in, such as steep cliffs, river crossings, and wildlife.

So, if you’re looking for a new challenge and are willing to take on some extra risk, fell running might be the perfect sport for you. Make sure you come prepared with the right gear and knowledge before heading out into the wild.

How to Get Started with Trail Running or Fell Running

No matter what your fitness level, trail running and fell running are great ways to get outdoors and explore nature. If you’re just getting started, you should keep a few things in mind:

  1. Choose a route that is appropriate for your skill level. Trail running can be done on any terrain, from easy dirt paths to more challenging trails. Fell running, on the other hand, is best done on softer surfaces like grass or mud.
  2. Be sure to dress appropriately for the weather and terrain. You’ll want to wear shoes with good traction and avoid loose-fitting clothing that could get caught on branches or underbrush.
  3. Be prepared for the unexpected by carrying a map and a few basic supplies.

Conclusion

Trail running and fell running are great ways to exercise in a beautiful natural setting. The sport can also be very social, as many runners enjoy meeting up with friends to train and race together. Fell running can also be a great way to explore new places, as runners often have to navigate off-trail and unfamiliar terrain.

Just be prepared with the right gear and knowledge before heading out into the wild.

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