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GPS use in our races

Fellrunning is a simple sport. You have some hills. You have some checkpoints to visit. These are often on the tops of hills, but not always. You use your skill and fitness to get between these points as fast as possible. Sometimes the organiser flags it if he wants you to go a certain way, or gives specific instructions. Other than that, it is up to the runner. That is fellrunning.

As a fellrunner, you may or may not own a GPS watch. You may or may not realise what they can do. You might be surprised to discover that you can upload a file of a route that another runner has run to your watch and follow that track with an arrow on your wrist correcting your line every few metres alerting you that you are too far left/right. This technology exists, is very accurate and been used to great effect in races, affecting the outcome of some (many people do not realise this). The use of this technology is no different than flagging the whole route of any race for someone using it. GPS track use takes away a fundamental element of the sport – that of route choice and finding your own way.

Currently their use is not widespread but it is foreseeable that, to be competitive, owning, and knowing how to use this ‘bread crumb’ GPS function will become an essential part of fellrunning. Do we want that?

AAC feel that most fellrunners, and certainly the vast majority of those canvassed by us, accept that this threatens something at the heart of the sport and were keen to see some control over the use of GPS tracks to navigate. So far FRA policy has been to leave it up to individual race organisers.

This is the rationale behind our decision. The specifics of the rules are outlined below. We do not want to stop people enjoying fellrunning. We do not want to discourage people from having a go. You can wear your watch and record your run. You can use the technology in an emergency to relocate yourself.

At Ambleside AC we are fellrunners just like you. We want what is best for the sport and have taken a stance. Whether you agree with our GPS rules or not, we ask that you respect them if you enter a fell race organised by us.

Happy running!

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