Fell Running Association comes up with new GPS category

 Navigation using devices such as the Garmin Fenix 5 will be banned in certain categories of fell races in future

Navigation using devices such as the Garmin Fenix 5 will be banned in certain categories of fell races in future

UK body reacts to letter over navigation technology in races

In response to controversy over the use of GPS devices in races, the Fell Runners Association (FRA) has said it will introduce a new category for races so individual organisers can stipulate whether they should be allowed.

Last month a group of more than 50 race organisers, together wth other prominent individuals from the fell running community such as Joss Naylor, wrote an open letter to the FRA urging them to change their rules to ban the use of devices which provide navigation information.

Now the FRA has posted an update on its website which may appease some of the complainants. The statement reads: "A new line will be introduced into the table of Race Categories which are currently race length (SML) and ascent (ABC). The new category will be G (GPS allowed) or NG (GPS or other electronic device not allowed). The RO will select either option at the time of race registration and licence application and this will be clearly published in the Calendar and in the Race Listings on the website.

"If a fell race is designated non-GPS (NG) then the use of any electronic device to aid route finding will be prohibited. The use of such a device to display compass, distance travelled, time, speed or altitude will be allowed, as will recording of actual route for post-race analysis. If such a device is used for route finding in an emergency situation then that competitor should retire from the race and declare themselves non-competitive.

"To be clear, either a G or an NG category race will still be eligible for Championship status and it will be up to the relevant RO’s to decide for their own races. MRAG will insist on a ban for the navigation leg at the British Fell Relays and for the 2018 Relays, electronic navigation will not be permitted for any of the legs."