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: How old does my child need to be to compete?
The minimum age for FRA registered races is 6 years old on the day of the race, but many vary upwards in age categories available on the day. Be sure to check the individual race organiser's information.
Q: Does my child need any special equipment or experience?
Most fell races involve mud! Whilst specialist fell shoes can be expensive, many trainers with a good grippy sole work well on the firmer surfaces. Your child may have to carry a cagoule or some other waterproof top, a thin hat or gloves on some of the longer or more exposed races.
Some clubs have second-hand kit for Juniors (shoes and other clothing that children tend to grow out of rapidly, rather than wear out). If not, it’s well worth asking on a club’s Facebook page/website and asking to borrow kit from friends, to try it out before purchasing.
Q: How safe is fell running?
FRA registered races for Juniors are fully flagged and well marshalled to ensure that no-one is lost on the hill and that help and support are readily available if required.
Q: Can I help my child, or run with them?
We encourage the children to be independent and we love enthusiastic supporters. However, it is not permitted to run alongside your child (as you may get in the way of other children racing), and they have to carry their own kit (if specified in the race entry details) for the whole race.
Q: What opportunities are there for children in fell running?
The FRA has a Junior Challenge series for Under-9 (U9) and U11 runners and a Junior Championship with U13, U15, U17 and U19 categories. Please see below for details of age categorisation.
Whilst this may sound like a scary and serious event, it's really an excuse to get together and run a race, with the emphasis on fun and participation. Everyone is welcome including beginners, and you will find we are enthusiastic and encouraging.
All FRA members who complete 4 or 6 races in the Junior Challenge or Junior Championship series are eligible for a T-shirt (4 races completed) or Hoodie (6 races completed) across all age groups.
Q: Which age group is my child in?
Age categories are usually based on age at end of year. Details are in a table in the FRA Rules for Competition (available here), which you can use to determine the correct age group for your child. For example, if your child is 10 but turns 11 in the current year, he/she will compete in the U13 category (even if their birthday is on 31st December).
Q: How do I find a local club?
Most running clubs have a "fell section" or will know if there is a specialist group in your area. Not all fell running clubs have a Junior section, so do check when you make contact with them.
Q: I won’t be at a Junior race – how can I sign the entry form?
For traditional "enter on the day" races, a parent or guardian can sign the race entry form to indicate their permission for the Junior to take part.
If the parent or guardian will not be present, but the Junior will be accompanied by a responsible adult (perhaps a friend, club member or coach), then the FRA Parental Consent Form should be used. The process is described, and the form may be found, here (under 'Parental consent'). The form can be completed at the beginning of the season and left in the hands of the club member or coach for re-use in subsequent events.
Q: How do I find out about fell races?
The FRA licensed events can be found on the FRA website here.
The Junior Fell Running Inter-County Championships is held for U15/U17 & U19 age groups. One of the English Championship fell races is selected and more information can be found on the FRA website. To compete as part of a county team, you will be selected by the county manager. Note that different counties have different selection criteria.
For details on the Senior Inter-County Championships, see here. Note that the Junior Inter-County Championships is a race that is usually held as part of the English Junior championship series.
The European / World mountain running opportunities are open to runners racing in the U17+ age groups. More information can be found on the England Athletics website here.
The BOFRA (British Open Fell Runners Association) events are listed on their website here. BOFRA races are usually associated with country fairs and shows, with winners traditionally taking home cash prizes. Historically, BOFRA hosted professional races when there was a distinction between amateur and professional sports.