The Fell Runners Association (FRA) governs fell racing in England and the Isle of Man. Some of the answers on this page may differ in other home nations; where relevant, please check with the Race Organiser or with the Welsh FRA (WFRA), Scottish Hill Runners (SHR) or Northern Ireland Mountain Running Association (NIMRA).
Whilst these FAQ pages are intended to provide informal guidance and extra context, they are not a “controlled document”. For any questions on rules and procedures, the latest FRA documentation remains the authority.
For questions relating to COVID-19, please see our dedicated page here.
Q: Do I need to be a member of a club to compete in fell races?
Q: Do I need to be a member of the FRA to compete in fell races?
No, but we very much encourage you to join: see FAQ for non-members of the FRA.
Q: Do I need to be registered with England Athletics (EA) to compete in fell races?
No. However, to be eligible for individual or team competitions in some races, for example the English Senior Championship or inter-county competitions, you may need to be registered with EA (or equivalent in other home nations) or the FRA (or your home association). Please check the race-specific competition rules.
For some running clubs, club membership includes EA registration; you will need to check with your club secretary whether this applies to you. You can also check your EA registration on the EA website here and find more information about registration here.
Q: What about for the English Championship series?
To be eligible for inclusion in the English Fell Championship series, additional eligibility requirements apply. Full details are at section 2(b) in the FRA Rules for Competition, available here; for most people, this means being either registered with EA or a member of the FRA.
To “count” for your club in the English Championship team competition you must meet the above requirements and also be a paid-up member of the club (for the current year). Full details are at the link above. You may compete for your “first claim” club only (unless you have registered a “first claim – other” club for fell running); see below. These requirements apply to the Championship series as a whole, not the individual races which are open to anyone meeting the appropriate criteria (e.g. age) and any requirements for prior experience.
Q: I’m not registered with England Athletics (EA). Can I compete for my club in the British Championships team category and the British Fell Relays?
Yes, but only if you are a member of the FRA (or other home association, i.e. WFRA, SHR or NIMRA).
The UK Athletics rule book states: “Athletes registered with the National Committees for Fell, Hill and Mountain Running and Trail Running are eligible to represent their club in team competition.” In this context the “National Committee” for fell running in England is the FRA.
Please note that the FRA does not organise the British Championships (officially the British Athletics Hill and Fell Running Championships) or the British Athletics Fell and Hill Relay – these are co-ordinated by UK Athletics via the Mountain Running Advisory Group. Please see here on the UK Athletics website (go to the link, then click the ‘BA Fell Running’ tab).
Q: I want to compete for one club in road / cross-country (XC) races but a different club in fell races. Can I do that?
This is possible if your first claim club does not affiliate to England Athletics (EA) for “hill and fell” (e.g. if it affiliates for road running only). In this scenario, you may be permitted to register a “first claim – other” club for whom you can compete in fell races. However, you must check with your club secretary – even if a club doesn’t “do” fell running, it might still affiliate for hill and fell!
Similarly, if your first claim club is “fell only” (i.e. affiliates to EA only for “hill and fell”) then you register a “first claim – other” club for other disciplines. However, your fell club would need to collect and pay your EA registration (as currently only your first claim club can do that for you).
For further advice please contact the FRA Membership Secretary on [email protected]. The situation with Juniors is slightly different; for advice, please contact the FRA Junior Co-ordinator on [email protected].
Q: Can I compete for my “second claim” club?
In FRA races (both Championship and non-Championship) which include a team competition of any kind, you may usually only compete for your primary (“first claim” or “first claim – other”) club, even if you are also a member of a second claim club. This applies regardless of whether anyone else from your first or second claim clubs is also running.
The only exception to the above rule is if both your primary club’s secretary and the Race Organiser (RO) agree that you may run for your second claim club in a given race. However, the competition rules published by the RO must stipulate that this is permitted. In races whose rules do not mention this, athletes may only compete for their primary clubs.
If you are unsure which is your first claim club, or if you need more guidance, please speak to your club secretary. You can also check the England Athletics website here (including details on how to change club) or contact EA here. For general eligibility queries regarding FRA races, please contact the FRA Membership Secretary at [email protected]; for race-specific enquiries please contact the RO.
For FRA races that are not in the English Championship, ROs may introduce their own categories, team prizes or eligibility requirements. Please read the race rules carefully and check with the RO if in any doubt, or if your case is not covered above (e.g. if a club not affiliated to EA is involved).
For British Championship events including the British Fell Relays, please check the eligibility rules on the UK Athletics website here (go to the link, then click the ‘BA Fell Running’ tab).
The situation with Juniors is slightly different; for advice, please contact the FRA Junior Co-ordinator on [email protected].
It is the responsibility of individuals and team captains to ensure that these rules are adhered to. Teams fielding ineligible runners may be liable to disqualification from races and race series, including Championships.
Q: I want to run cross-country (XC) races as well as fell races. Can I do this under my FRA membership or do I need to register with England Athletics (EA)?
FRA membership is not relevant to XC races, or races in any other discipline.
Whether you need to be registered with EA will depend on the specific rules of the competition; some races or race series will stipulate this requirement.
If you are a member of a club, it may also depend on whether your club automatically registers its members with EA and whether the club affiliates to EA for cross-country (sometimes referred to as “ticking the cross-country box”). Please check with your club secretary for advice on these two points.
If you are registered with EA but for a club which does not affiliate for XC (e.g. is a ‘fell only’ club) then you may register with a ‘first claim – other’ club for XC races only. Please ask the club secretary or FRA Membership Secretary for advice on this, or contact EA Membership Services directly.