There has been quite a lot of discussion on the FRA forum in particular around the awarding of medals at the British Athletics Fell Relay Championships last weekend.
It’s an event I took part in this year, having done so fairly regularly since 1992, in teams both challenging for medals and ones just challenging to get 6 runners out, so I do understand how passionate about the event people can be, especially when medals are at stake.
Historically the event has, and continues to frequently be, referred to as the FRA relays, it is however not a FRA event in terms of championships. Rather it is a relay event which is kindly hosted by a different club each year, which includes three British Athletics fell running relay championship events. The race organisers often decide to add prizes for additional categories, as was the case this year.
The BA Fell Relay Championship events are Men’s Senior team, Men’s Veteran team and Women’s team, and teams are asked to sign up for which championship event they wish to take part in prior to the race taking place, as required under UKA rules for Championship events.
The medals allocated for the Championship events were then correctly given out to those teams who finished in the first 3 positions within the championship category which they had entered. Likewise the results as published show the results of the race based on the overall finishing position of all the teams.
It is accepted that the published rules of the event and entry form were not clear on the fact that for the Championships, teams would only count within the category that they signed up for, something that has very clearly come to light by the two veterans teams finishing second and third overall teams. Apologies for this, the only excuse being that no one foresaw how well the veterans teams would run. We will absolutely make sure that this is clear on the entry forms and all information published for future events.
There will be people who do not agree with the rule and therefore the medal distribution; the BA fell relays are unique in hosting both senior/open and veterans team Championships in the same event, hence the issue. However, hopefully everyone who was there does agree what a great event Dallam Running Club and Howgill Harriers hosted, and also condemns the public verbal abuse given to the race organiser at the presentation by some runners – not the least because this spoilt what should have been a chance for the large majority of competitors to demonstrate their appreciation for the great job done by the race organisers.