The Fell ‘n’ Back was launched as a more traditional one-day running event in 2018 but after the charity was forced to cancel its plans twice due to Covid, the team came up with an alternative approach.
From now until mid-October, runners can complete one or more of three designated routes whenever it suits them and log their times online using a GPS tracking system to compete with other participants.
Neil Curruthers, who leads the mountain rescue team, said: “We normally plan the events months in advance and, with the uncertainty caused by Covid, we were wary of trying for a third time if we might have to cancel the race and disappoint everyone.
“But we want to keep raising the profile of the team, raising funds and encouraging people to get out and about in the Peak District – the more the merrier.”
The team has partnered with Tideswell company Explorer Events to devise the routes and deploy suitable technology.
Runners are asked to pay £6 to register and then download the MapRun app on to their phone or watch, with full route details including a map with waypoints marked.
The most challenging race covers 15.4 kilometres around Kinder Edge and Brown Knoll. Alternatively, there is a medium-difficulty ten kilometre route around Goyt Valley and Shining Tor or a easier 6.9 kilometres through Upper Cressbrook Dale and Peter’s Stone.
Once completed, the runner’s route and time will be uploaded to the MapRun site and the event results are instantly updated.
Results will be published regularly to show runners how they are faring against the competition, and prizes will be awarded for gender and age categories.
The Fell ‘n’ Back usually raises around £2,000 a year for essential rescue work. The Buxton team’s annual operating costs typically amount to around £45,000 but it receives no government funding.
Neil said: “We’ve been able to weather the pandemic reasonably well, largely thanks to the continued support of the local community. We’re 100 per cent volunteer-run and entirely reliant on public donations for which we’re very grateful.”
For more information on signing up for the race, go to explorerevents.co.uk/map-run.