Dark Peak Fell Runners – Excellence Through Misadventure

Fell running. It was and remains the reason I stared running off road. When I moved to the Lake District to go to uni (briefly), I started running in the fells and though I never raced, the history, tradition and grassroots nature of the racing scene across the UK appeals. Cheap entries, limited marketing and big brand sponsorship, pure mountain running and a vast array of clubs which all produce unique characters and rivalries – check out the Kendal Fell Running Sessions for a taster.Stanage_DP_DPFR-0494 smallerImage Credit – Duncan Philpott

So who are Dark Peak Fell Runners?

Formed in 1976, the Dark Peak Fell Runners take their name from the area of the Peak District that site on their doorstep, the Dark Peak. Runners are predominately based in South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire communities. With over 300 members, the DPFR is one of the biggest fell running clubs in Britain with a strong 40 year history of achievements, course records and firsts. Having been to several races as a photographer where members have been running and I’m fortune to call a few friends.

But why are they featuring on a film commissioned by Pertex?

Well, there’s a link and it’s more than some of the members will have bought Pertex products in the past years…. Pertex was founded in 1979 by Hamish Hamilton, who also happens to be one of the founding members of, you guessed it, the Dark Peak Fell Runners. Having reviewed products that feature Pertex materials including this one, I can safely say I’ve been using products purchased and sent in for review since 2005.

Peat, sweat and 40-year traditions make up the DNA of the Dark Peak Fell Runners (DPFR) as depicted in the latest film by Sheffield production company Coldhouse. Shot over the course of a year in and around the Peak District National Park, the film captures the eccentricity, endeavours and endurance of one of the biggest fell running clubs in Britain.

The film showcases the changing seasons of the Peak District National Park as the members of DPFR train and race through some of the region’s most iconic landscapes proudly sporting their purple and yellow striped club colours. Tales of misadventure, hill-running debauchery and elemental defiance punctuate the 15-minute film among similar anecdotes of success, discovery and camaraderie.

The Club boasts results that would inspire even the most decorated fell runners in the country including records for a double Bob Graham round and a glistening trophy cabinet awash with bronze, silver and gold from national and international races and championships. But, after all is said and run, these mountain hares congregate at The Sportsman Inn on the outskirts of Sheffield to reminisce about recent expeditions to higher altitude over a pint.RG-Pertex-DPFR-SUMMER-2185 smallImage credit – Ryan Goff

An annual gathering in the latter months of the year celebrates the achievements of the club and its members including one such commemoration for those who demonstrated incompetence in the mountains. The winner is chosen by the current holder of the title based on observations and rumours swirling around the club and is awarded the Pertex Trophy. Originally donated by founding Dark Peak Fell Running club member and the creator of Pertex Hamish Hamilton, the award is a tongue-in-cheek acknowledgement of the person who failed spectacularly at one of the basic requirements of fell running: navigation.

I really enjoyed the film, as it shows the real faces, personalities and ultimately, people behind the club. It may not be action packed, drone pull shot, followed by slow mo and focus pull from natural feature…. but it’s fitting. It’s honest and for that I give Coldhouse my upmost respect, for letting the stories and anecdotes that have been collected over 40 years be the central narrative of the film.Copy of Pertex-DPFR-MP-EdaleSkyline-DRAFT-0156 smallerImage Credit – Matt Pycroft

To find out more about the Dark Peak Fell Runners and see more about their story, CLICK HERE for the full movie, photo epic and stories shared on Pertex’s site.

To find out more about Pertex CLICK HERE

To find out more about Coldhouse Collective CLICK HERE