How I fell in love with fell running | Trail Hub | SportsShoes.com
How I fell in love with fell running

How I fell in love with fell running

How I fell in love with fell running

Written By: Hannah Cairns

After recently discovering the world of fell running, it’s safe to say that Hannah Cairns hasn’t looked back. Here she describes her first experience of racing and how she fell in love with the sport.


As we turned the corner to approach Kettlewell, the mid-afternoon sun shone down onto the surrounding fells. It was hot, maybe too hot to be running, but I was ready to give this race a try. With no previous experience fell running, I had absolutely nothing to lose, but everything to learn!

The route was only short (2.3km to be precise), however, as I looked up to observe the junior race, I realised the enormity of the task ahead. A near-vertical fell towered over the race field, and from there the route vanished. The tiny dots on the fell-side only re-appeared as they flew back down the scree-covered hill towards the finish line. Had I known that the descent involved my dreaded scree, I might have stayed at home. But I was here now, there was no turning back!


Running

Photo credit: Carolyn Brett Muir


It was soon my turn to race and before I knew it I was clambering up the fell. I couldn’t maintain any form of running, so my strategy for the ascent was to hike with my hands on my knees. I ploughed on, picking off my competitors one by one as I lunged and scrambled further towards the summit and the marked point of descent.

Descending isn’t my forte. Quite simply because I have not had much opportunity to practise the technique. For me, it is easier said than ‘brakes off, brain off’, or simply letting gravity take you down. I have the fear… leg trembling fear. I know that really, the worst that could happen is that I’ll fall, but there’s something stopping me from dancing down the fell.

From the moment we began descending, I knew I would lose some places. But I couldn’t think about that; I had a hill to get down. I tried to follow my fellow competitors, but they were going far too fast for me. So, I just took it one step at a time, tentatively tiptoeing down the scree in an attempt to cause minimal disruption to the loose stones, and therefore my footfall.


Running

Photo credit: Carolyn Brett Muir


As the descent eased off, I picked up my pace and darted back to the finish line. I knew that my descending had let me down, but I was pretty happy with 9th lady for my first ever fell race; The British Open Fell Runner’s Association race in Kettlewell, against some strong competition. It’s safe to say that it won’t be my last - I am hooked!

You can follow Hannah and all her running adventures here.

Find out more about off-road running by visiting our trail running hub and make sure you’ve got all the running kit you need for your next adventure.

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