I have had some brief contact with the FRA race liason officer and Jude about this. My reply from race liason is on the fra forum, put uo in last month or so.
Absolutely daft, fundamental skill of the sport that people should be able to use
I can't see how you can enforce a GPS ban. I don't like watch use because I'm an orienteer at heart, and wholeheartedly embrace the idea of "mountain-craft" as part of a race. I noticed the comment "you can't make a champion out of it" - well, we'll see what the results are at the end of the season.
Spud - Noone's saying they can't use a map and compass - people are just choosing to ignore these in favour of their watches. Which in my eyes is not on.
Fortunately it's still a running sport so If I want to make sure I beat these buggers, I'll have to run faster!
Haha very true, I suppose not but maybe not as well as those who can do it properly and choose to in a race which makes it a definite advantage. Tricky to enforce though really without a blanket ban which would just never happen. Nice work this weekend though!
for reference if anyone interested can't find it, here's what I received from the FRA Race liaison officer when I tentatively raised this issue.
Championship fell races are never navigation events. Navigation skills are necessary for safety. Map and compass are still mandatory for a good reason. If a fell race is also a nav event eg mountain marathons, HPM and similar then the RO usually states no GPS.
Just about impossible to police and to be honest. There’s little difference between that and someone who reccies the route to death. If anything, it reduces footfall from that point of view. There are safety advantages for those in trouble who may be assisted off the hill by one or be able to accurately pinpoint where they are.
This was debated in the FRA last year. I have no plans to limit GPS for the reasons above but do have to say, that I think nobody is going to run to their potential speed.whilst looking at their watch. It won’t make a champion out of anyone. Championship races are like a precession of sheep anyway. It’s a race and the fastes round the course wins with or without GPS.
I do understand your concern Nick but it’s just not enforceable.
Interesting approach by the Liason officer there, saying it has a safety benefit it may well do, however the alternative risk is that someone will download a GPS trace off the internet and try running on that and completely relying on it and running themselves into trouble - ie off a cliff as I know my gps isn’t always accurate is it often shows me a stunning through buildings etc.
Imagine running a BG having not recced it and relying on a GPS trace to guide you?
Is that real?
Take the long view. In a few years most people will have lost the ability to use a map or compass and will have plunged to their deaths or died of hypothermia when they have had a gps fail up on the hills. Due to that natural attrition, the next generation of map reading fell runners will have a greater advantage. Be patient.
Natural selection in action
Nice result Rhys - seems like the fitness is coming!
I guess the telling part of Nic's interaction is the 'it's not enforceable', the rest just seems like an attempt at justification. Seems like many on the FRA Forum think that it wouldn't make a difference at the pointy end - maybe not in most races but when the clag is down it's a different game.
I generally agree with some of the points they make, but not with the 'little impact on results' and also the lack of mention that 'fell/mountain craft' is an inherent part of fell running - in middle-long distance races (I'd expect a short champs race to be pretty obvious/well flagged for fairness purposes).