How low can you go?

Posted in The Sweat by Matt Ward on Mon 05 Nov '12


Dib, dib, dib...

A fascinating poll has been posted on the FRA site recently. The question posed by forum member ‘Wheeze’ is mainly aimed at the younger generation of fell runners (i.e those under 30) and those newer to the sport…

The precise question posed is:
How do you like your fell races?
1. Low tech, simple and low key.
2. High tech, instant results, all mod cons etc.

As someone whose world often encounters the high tech, branded world of events, I am sometimes left hungering after those simple but highly-effective races where pen and paper rule and prizes are more likely to be wine or chocolate rather than a big fat cheque.

These ‘low tech’ races are still thoroughly organised by very experienced people, often take place in some of the most beautiful parts of the country and have great course marking and everything the runner would need. But this stripped-back nature is exactly what appeals to some and also reminds us that life (and sport) can be at its very best when it is kept simple.

© Ian Charters

Iain Ridgway rightly points out of course that we can probably utilise some of the new world to enhance an already great event, and such technology as dibbers and chip timing can be a very useful safety back-up for organisers wishing to know that all runners have retuned safe and well, as well as aiding in getting the results done and online asap.

It is an interesting debate, but with current results showing a heavy biased towards the low-tech route we doubt much will change too quickly in a sport which has remained pretty much the same for decades, if not centuries! And as Wheeze states, “My faith is restored!”

Reactions so far
  1. Paul Barbier Nov 8, 07:28 PM

    I really enjoy both types of event. Our tuesday eveing series in North Wales that Mike Blake organises is awesome, plus all the other races around North Wales midweek and on the weekends. People put in fantastic work to organise these low key but competitive events, and thats what keeps us going through the season.
    Then the bigger ticket events are also amazing, with a different atmosphere again, more people more buzz more tech, but equally as fun and its just such a great time to be in this scene as the variety of events now is huge..Long live diversity. Thanks to everyone who gives up their time and helps us indulge our passion for the wild places

  2. Dominic Shields Nov 11, 05:26 PM

    Simple, low key and with instant (same day) results, really this is so easy to do (assuming big mistakes have not been made). I have to often bite my tongue and not offer to input and get the results out the same day for race organisers, I appreciate they have a lot to do so maybe I will offer in future.

  3. Gary Muir Nov 22, 10:41 AM

    I like the variety of events, which means there is always something for everyone.
    The low tech smaller races are great for encouraging the new comers to a sport that can be quite daunting, especially to the younger ones. This usually encourages parents to get involved with helping out (marshalling etc). Creating great community spirit. I love it.

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