The birth of Cumberland Fell Runners can be traced to a gradual decline in actual running members and a lack of enthusiastic interest generally on the running side of Cumberland Fell Runners Association (C.F.R.A.). This was, in fairness, partly due to the committee being involved in organising a number of local fell races, and Danny Hughes, the secretary, suggested to the members that it might be beneficial for both runners and organisers if the two were to part company. Hence a meeting was set for 17th December 1986 at the Pack of Hounds public house (now the Lamplugh Tip) to see if runners of the C.F.R.A. were prepared to come forward and set about forming what was to be virtually a new club. Twenty members attended this meeting, where plenty of interest was in evidence. So a completely new committee was elected, with the main officers being Bernard Hillon (Chairman), Mike Wood (Treasurer), and Harry Jarrett (Secretary). It was obvious that the club should have a new name, so for simplicity it was decided to drop the word ‘Association’ from ‘C.F.R.A.’, leaving ‘Cumberland Fell Runners’. We were on our way.
The split was an amicable one, and indeed the C.F.R.A. kindly donated a sum of money to get the new club on its feet. The new club started life that year with a membership of some 25 runners. But by the 10th December 1987 and the first A.G.M. the membership had swelled to a healthy 75 runners. On reflection, this was due to a very active and conscientious committee, coupled with an equally enthusiastic membership. With membership at the start of the new millennium at over 200, the club can count itself financially very sound and free to inject money into numerous club events, notably the club championship. This competition is decided on a similar line to the National Championship, with a runner’s best six of twelve Lakeland races (four short, four medium and four long) contributing to an overall Championship total score. Different Championship races are selected each year by club members. Qualifying criteria have been modified over the years, and is now set at one race from each category plus any three other races, although Vet 50’s and over are exempt from the long category races. At the 3rd CFR meeting, on 25th February 1987, Bernard Hillon proposed that the club organise a presentation evening and dance. They have become an important annual event, with awards given to CFR Championship category winners. Other club awards presented are ‘Clubman of the Year’, ‘Newcomer of the Year’, ‘Most Improved Runner’, and a ‘Junior Award’. C.F.R. encourage and welcome runners of all standards and can call on a wealth of experienced runners, who are only too willing to help and encourage wherever possible. Looking back now the success and, more importantly, the pleasure this comparatively new club has given us is something we could only have dreamed about when we began.