Fell running club says GPS guides should get lost
A FELL-RUNNING club has banned GPS devices amid complaints that the technology is removing the skill from the sport.
Ambleside Athletic Club was formed in 1983 by a group of fell runners who were keen to race over the Lake District’s mountains using survival skills, as well as maps and compasses, to traverse each unique mountain route.
However, Ambleside AC has banned all GPS devices because they are now so accurate that runners can sprint without stopping to navigate on even the most complicated routes.
The club, which organises the Fairfield Horseshoe, Great Lakes and Three Shires races, said that the quality of Gps-enabled devices had improved to such an extent “it is now possible to navigate a route ‘on sight’ without ever deviating more than a few metres and, crucially, without any ability to read a map or compass”.
“Ambleside AC believe that the ability to navigate using a map and compass is a central part of the sport of fell running,” it said.
“This applies to all devices including hand-held GPS devices, GPS watches and mobile phones.”
Ben Abdelnoor, the club chairman, stressed the decision had been made only to ban devices being used for navigation. Runners will still be able to carry them for logging their own runs, just not for directional assistance.
He also said it had been made with the backing of the Fell Running Association, other organisers and key figures including celebrated fell runner Joss Naylor. Mr Abdelnoor said: “Fell running is, and always has been, about running on the fells and using your mountain craft skills.”