What is fell running? Well, truth be told, I'm not entirely sure! I mean, I know the basics: it's running up and down big feck off mountains (the aforementioned "fells") but there's all kinds of rules and terminology and, dare I say it, fashions(!) that seem to go along with it.* Really, the line between fell and trail racing is a bit blurry, and somewhat akin to the Judean People's Front/People's Front of Judea.
The biggest thing, at least from my current perspective, is the need to be able to navigate. I got lost in my bedroom once (for reals... It was pitch black and I was more-than-half asleep, but it doesn't bode well for getting off a mountain in a thick blanket of clag) so that's something I have a wee bit of trepidation about. Trail running, by its very nature, takes place almost entirely on trails; any deviation is well marked with flags. Fell running can, and indeed often does it seems, involve a reasonable amount of navigation just to complete the course. Added to which, there's the basic safety requirements of being able to get yourself off a mountain safely if you get into a pickle without having to call out an MRT. Consequently, a navigation course and lots of practice are in my near future!
Anyway, I am now a fully paid up member of Northumberland Fell Runners and am looking forward to wearing this at Sunday's race (which isn't a fell race so much as a trail race, but never mind):
On that note, I shall end with an appropriate song by the band Hell Is For Heroes, who inspired the title to this post.
*Despite the protestations of many fell runners, I'm sure, there definitely is a fashion, or maybe anti-fashion.