Sue gathers up the questions we always get asked, tries to answer them without causing offence or insulting random strangers, and partly succeeds.

Where do you run?

Our Tuesday night social runs are on the fell in summer and on the road in winter. We roam across the South Lakes from Eskdale to Windermere, but most of our runs are around the Duddon Valley, Coniston Fells, Black Combe and Corney. The calendar will let you know what’s what. At weekends you will usually find a group of us somewhere in the higher fells, whatever the season or the weather.

How far do you go?

The social runs are about six or seven miles long, with regular regrouping and a variety of speeds.

Can I come?

Yes. Just turn up at the meeting place at 6.30 ready to run. The calendar always links to a map showing where we will meet.

What do I need?

For road runs you will need little more than your usual trainers and a head torch (since they usually happen in the winter). We’re usually somewhere on the back lanes and a high-viz vest or something reflective is always a good idea when dodging cars in the dark.

For the fell runs you will need some proper fell shoes, a lightweight running coat and a sense of humour. These runs are of indeterminate length (and sometimes indeterminate direction), but normally last about an hour and a half. Sometimes they can be quite low level valley runs but often we’re on the higher tops, which is why the running coat will come in handy.

Bring something warm to change into, because we all go to the pub afterwards.

Can I manage it?

Yes. Probably. If you’re wondering because you’ve never done it before, give it a try and find out. We rarely lose anyone. You need to be reasonably fit – able to run six miles comfortably on the road, say – and going with the flow is an advantage too. Everything else you will pick up quite quickly. Often on Tuesday nights a slower group will do a shorter run, but who, what and when can’t always be guaranteed.

Do I need to join the club first?

No. You don’t really need to join at all, but most people do after they’ve been running with us for a bit.

What’s a good running coat?

It’s not the same as a good walker’s coat: for runners what matters most is that the coat breathes. If you take the fell-running seriously you’ll end up with all sorts of kit, but to start with the best thing to buy is a good lightweight windproof coat.

Waterproofs, and other goretex-type products, are on the whole too heavy, too clammy and too uncomfortable for running. Most of us would only wear one if the day was very long and the weather very very bad. They’re also much more expensive so if you’re only going to buy one thing make it a windproof. Most good ones will take a shower anyway.

There are loads of reasonably priced ones from the main brands, but my recommendation would be to go with something good quality without the swoosh – Montane do a very comprehensive range in pertex which is very lighweight and packs down very small, and the Paramo Fuera Windproof is has a brilliant hood and so also comes in my top three all time favourite running coats [Sue claims that this is a joke, but it’s really not -ed].

and shoes?

It depends what fits your foot and what find comfortable. The Walsh PB is the classic, but these days most people find themselves in an Inov-8 mudroc, muclaw, x-talon or roclite. La Sportiva do the Crosslite and New Balance I think still do some fell shoes that you can pick up cheaply at the factory shops. Trail shoes would be ok to start with, but they’re not really up to the job and you will fall over going downhill.

What you’re looking for is a low profile with little or no cushioning, a tight fit and good grip. You don’t need cushioning for fell running and the extra height will just encourage you to turn your ankle.

Don’t buy waterproof shoes: they keep the water in.

Do I need anything else?

Not really. If you get into racing on the fells, you need a compass (that you know how to use), lightweight waterproof trousers and a bumbag with a mars bar in it. Otherwise, no: coat and shoes are the only special kit you need. Some people do bring a bumbag and something to eat on the social runs, but most don’t.

(On one occasion we all got completely lost slightly argumentative about the route as the clag drew in and everything went dark. Between a dozen of us we couldn’t muster a single item of safety or navigation equipment. Highly embarrassing. Maybe I shouldn’t have mentioned that. It was the only time.)

Do you run on paths?

No. Paths are for the weak.

Do you ever run across the sea?

Yes, once a year in the summer.

Peanut butter or jam?


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How to cross the finish line properly. Sue at the Grasmere Guides Race in 2008

Social run

On the fell we'll sometimes see a footpath, but you can't rely on it. Fell or good trail shoes are essential. If you'd like to come along, either get in touch or just turn up.


If in doubt, follow this man.