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£6.00 Adult Entry

Fell Running Exhibition - Feb to Dec 2024 at The Armitt, Ambleside

Fell Running History

Overview of Fell Running in the UK

Fell running in the United Kingdom has a rich history deeply rooted in the rugged landscapes of the upland areas, particularly in the Northern regions of England, Scotland, and Wales. Here's a brief overview of the history of UK fell running:

Origins and Informal Races

Fell running is believed to have originated in the early 19th century, with shepherds and workers racing each other informally across the fells. These races were often part of local fairs and festivals, reflecting the close connection between the rural communities and the challenging terrain they inhabited.

Competitive Races Emerge

The sport started to formalise in the late 19th century, with documented races and challenges emerging. One notable early event is the "Guides Race" held during the Grasmere Sports in the Lake District. This race, initiated in 1868, later evolved into one of the most famous fell races.

Bob Graham Round (1932)

A significant milestone in the history of fell running is the creation of the Bob Graham Round in 1932. Bob Graham, a hotelier in Keswick, completed a circuit of 42 Lake District peaks within 24 hours. This iconic round became a benchmark challenge for fell runners and mountaineers.

Post-War Era and Formalization

Fell running gained popularity after World War II, with the establishment of formalised clubs and organisations. The sport started to develop a structured calendar of events, and fell running began to attract a dedicated community of enthusiasts.

Fell Running Associations

Fell running associations and governing bodies, such as the Fell Runners Association (FRA) and British Open Fell Running Association (BOFRA), were formed to regulate the sport, set standards, and organise competitions. These organisations along with others in the home nations played a crucial role in shaping the modern fell running scene.

Famous Races

Various iconic fell races became established over the years, including the Ben Nevis Race in Scotland, the Snowdon Race in Wales, and the Borrowdale Fell Race in England. These races are known for their challenging routes and have become highlights on the fell running calendar.

International Recognition

Fell running gained international recognition, and British fell runners started to compete in and win prestigious mountain running events around the world. The discipline's unique challenges and the scenic beauty of the courses contributed to its global appeal.

Modern Era

In the modern era, fell running continues to thrive, with a diverse range of events catering to various skill levels. The sport maintains its grassroots character, attracting both elite athletes and recreational runners who appreciate the combination of physical challenge and natural beauty that fell running offers.

Overall, the history of fell running in the UK reflects a tradition of resilience, camaraderie, and a deep connection to the rugged landscapes that define the sport.


Come to see, hear and feel so much more at The Armitt in Ambleside throughout 2024

Exhibition Contributors

  • The Armitt
  • VOOM Nutrition
  • KONG Running
  • The Climbers Shop
  • Ultra Magazine
  • Site by Jumpy James