Fell running safety guidelines & rules for the Brecon Fans Races

These guidelines are derived from the Welsh Fell Runners Association SAFETY RULES FOR COMPETITORS and the 2017 Race Organisers' Handbook. We've added some notes to clarify how these guidelines apply to the Brecon Fans races. Please see the individual race pages for specific requirements.

Factors including weather and terrain mean that fell racing takes place in a hazardous environment. Competitors must have appropriate experience in the conditions that may be encountered so that they can manage their own safety.

The Race Organiser (RO) has a duty of care to competitors in their race. However, competitors must accept that race monitoring (marshals, checkpoint recording, search and rescue etc.) is not infallible and must not be considered a ‘safety net’. 

A competitor enters a race on the understanding that they are responsible for their own safety. The competitor must obey all instructions from the RO and officials but must equip and conduct themselves as though they were unsupported for the duration of the race. 

Please note the following ten safety rules. Breach of a rule by a competitor may result in disqualification from future WFRA races for a period determined by the WFRA Committee. 

As a condition for entering any WFRA race, the competitor shall: 

  1. comply with these safety rules and any additional race specific safety rules imposed by the Race Organiser (RO).
  2. follow the procedures described by the RO if they fail to start or abandon the race.
  3. obey all instructions from race officials.
  4. be aware of the serious disabling consequences of hypothermia, dehydration and heat exhaustion and act appropriately during the race. 
  5. carry sufficient kit, e.g. body and leg cover which gives protection from the effects of wind chill and safety equipment, (including food and drink) throughout the race to be able to navigate and provide protection from hypothermia, or dehydration and heat in the worst foreseeable weather conditions during the race, noting that rescue could take a long time.
  6. take note of the length and severity of the race and local weather forecast for the day and judge their capabilities accordingly. 
  7. consider how any health impairments may jeopardise their safety or of others and act accordingly. 
  8. take specific note of RO information on the nature of the terrain on the race route, checkpoints to be visited or course to be followed and any restrictions to route choice. 
  9. have the skills, experience and equipment required to comply with the RO’s navigation and safety requirements, having assessed conditions on the day. 
  10. take reasonable care not to create hazards that may cause harm to other people and support anyone in need of assistance, even if it means abandoning their race. 

And here is what these rules mean in practice for the Brecon Fans Races: 

  • Arrive at the venue with as much kit as the Race Organiser (RO) is likely to require you to carry on the day. This means windproof full body cover, map, compass, whistle and suitable footwear (this is the absolute minimum set to bring whatever the conditions), plus other body cover appropriate for the weather conditions (e.g. waterproof full body cover, hat, gloves etc.), and emergency food and drink. Under WFRA safety requirements this kit is only absolutely mandatory for category "A" Long or Medium races. Since Pen y Fan is a Short race, and the Fan y Big Horseshoe is a 'B' Medium race, this means that we (the Race Organisers) are allowed to waive the kit requirement in settled good weather. However in practice we nearly always stick to the recommendation to carry the kit, and this means it is mandatory for the competitors. So if we ask you to carry the kit, you carry the kit, "end of". See the individual race pages for details of the kit we are likely to require.
  • Be aware that ROs will refuse entry to those competitors who, in their opinion, do not have the appropriate kit/equipment, experience or navigational skills required to complete the race safely and in a reasonable time.
  • If you are concerned you may not be able  to complete the race safely and in a reasonable time, consider withdrawing and saving your efforts for another day. You must inform the RO if you withdraw after registration.
  • The use of music/sound equipment that restricts hearing is prohibited.
  • Dogs are not permitted in the race.
  • It is your responsibility to identify yourself to a marshal at each and every checkpoint and NOT leave that checkpoint until the marshal has acknowledged that your number has been recorded.
  • Have the necessary skills to cope with any navigational problems you may encounter, whatever the weather. This means knowing how to use map and compass in poor visibility.
  • Be able to recognize the signs of hypothermia and hypoglycaemia in yourself and others.
    • Hypothermia: not responding to conversation; unco-ordinated movement and speech; inability to think clearly; wanting to carry on in adverse conditions; skin cold where normally warm, such as under armpit.  Immediate action: wrap in warm clothing.
    • Hypoglycaemia: confusion, ill co-ordinated movement and speech; weakness, hunger.  Immediate action: drink glucose solution or suck sweets.
  • Know what the RO’s checkpoint and ‘drop-out’/retirement procedures are and comply with them. As a minimum, if you retire you MUST notify the officials at the finish before you leave the area.
  • If you see someone in trouble: HELP, even if it costs you the race.
  • Be aware that, by the nature of fell racing, first aid or other assistance may not be readily available.