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: What is the English Fell Running Championship?
The Senior English Fell Running Championship is a season-long series of six fell races, running approximately from March to October each year. It aims to find the best individual fell runner of the season in a range of age categories. There is also a very competitive team competition.
Q: Do I have to do all the races?
For most age groups there are six races (two short, two medium and two long) with "four to count". These four must include a short, a medium and a long, plus any one other race. If you are taking the Championship seriously it is essential to check the full details, which are available in the FRA Handbook and on the FRA website - see our Championships page.
Q: Whereabouts are the races held?
Championship races are primarily held in the north of England, including Shropshire. An effort is made to spread the races out and the organisers are always looking for new and interesting races to highlight.
Q: Who chooses the races?
The decision is made by the FRA’s Championship Co-ordinator in collaboration with the FRA Committee. Please see the Committee page for contact details.
Q: Can anyone enter the Championships?
Theoretically yes, but there is usually a number limit on each race plus a three-tier entry system giving priority to proven elite runners (the "Guaranteed Entry List" - see below) and then FRA members.
Q: Can I just turn up on the day and get an entry?
No! These races are invariably pre-entry only to control numbers and give priority as mentioned above. However, there are always some withdrawals and spaces may be available once the race limit is reached and entry is closed. These are allocated by the Race Organiser. If you are hoping for a late place, contact the relevant Race Organiser and act on their instructions.
Q: Do I have to be a member of the FRA to enter the Championships?
No, but not being a member may diminish your chances of gaining an entry to the races. Also, all regular fell runners are always strongly advised to become FRA members.
Q: Do I need to register to take part?
No. All results from the races are collated by our marvellous FRA statistician and anyone who has run the requisite number of races is automatically included in the Championship results.
Q: Are there prizes?
There are generally prizes for individual races on the day as usual. For the actual Championship awards, there is an annual presentation evening in November each year where trophies and medals are awarded for the Championships and a range of other fell running activities. Usually, the top three runners in each age category receive a medal, and likewise in team competitions.
Q: Are the races very elitist?
Definitely not! It is true to say that they are inevitably a little more nerve-wracking when you first go but once you are running it is just another fell race. It is also true to say that they are almost celebratory in atmosphere, especially afterwards, as loads of people go and they are very social occasions. Sometimes there are evening events tied in with them or clubs make a weekend of it. There are runners in all age groups too so a full range of ability. It is great to run with the very best but there are lots of slower runners as well. On some occasions the men’s and women’s races are run separately and so you get the chance to watch great runners in action and support your team members. They are great days out!
Q: How does the scoring system work?
In the Men's Open Championship, the winner of a Championship race receives 52 points (50 plus two bonus points), the second placed runner 49, then 48, 47 and so on down to the 50th male runner who scores one point. At the end of the season, a runner's top four results (which must include one short, one medium and one long race) are added together and the final results are ranked.
Women's, Under-23, and Veteran categories are calculated similarly, but with fewer runners scoring points (commensurate with the usual participation levels in each category). In Team competitions, the top five men's results and top three women's results from each category are used to calculate the team scores in each race, which are then ranked as above for individuals.
Please check our Championships page for full details.
Q: Can Juniors enter?
The lower age limit for Championship races is usually 18, but there are separate Junior Championship and Challenge events for runners as young as 6. Please see our Juniors FAQ page for more information.
Q: What is the Guaranteed Entry List, and how do I apply?
The Guaranteed Entry List comprises fell runners who have shown clear medal-winning potential in their age categories through previous performances. Those on the list have a period of one week to enter all Championship races before entries are opened to FRA members. The purpose is to try to safeguard the integrity of competition by ensuring that the most competitive athletes have every opportunity to gain a place, given that Championship races often fill up quickly.
Towards the end of each year, the Championship Co-ordinator will invite applications for the following year's Guaranteed Entry List - keep an eye on the FRA website and Facebook page (here), where instructions on how to apply will be posted. You must be an FRA member to apply for a place. Once the deadline has passed, the list will be selected as fairly as possible by the FRA Championships Sub-committee. The size of the list is capped and there are far more talented runners than places, so inevitably there will be many disappointed applicants; some subjective judgements are always necessary, and we ask all applicants to accept that the Championships Co-ordinator's decision is final.
For the British Guaranteed Entry List, please see below regarding the British Championship.
Q: Which team or categories am I eligible for?
Please see our Eligibility FAQ page.
Q: What is the British Championship?
The British Fell Running Championship is organised not by the FRA but by the Championship Sub-committee of the Mountain Running Advisory Group (MRAG) of UK Athletics. There are four races each year, one in each of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. A runner's best three results count, but these must include one short, one medium and one long race. For more information, please see the UK Athletics website here.