Words by: Alex Simpson & Phillip Suddick
Directors: Alex Simpson & Phillip Suddick
DOP: Gavin Williams
Sound Recordist: Julian Tardo
Editor: Alex Simpson
Colourist: Alex Gregory @ The Mill
Runner: Calum Tinnion
‘Fell-running is simple: It’s a sport that involves running over mountains. Gruelling marathons of more than 20 miles which still remain mostly local events. This is a portrait of Calum from Cumbria, a new school fell runner with his feet firmly in the old school. We explore his world and his deeper reasons for running, finding happiness and being present when pushed to the limits.

Phillip and I were hunting for an idea that we felt had depth to it. We explored a few different avenues, however kept coming back to Fell Running due to Phillip’s dads connection to the sport. He was a Fell Runner in his youth and hearing about it gave us plenty of inspiration. It’s a relatively unknown sport which doesn’t have a huge following, and this is something that really attracted us to the project.

As we started to learn more about the runners and the sport itself we were hugely inspired by the great lengths and feats of endurance these athletes go to when training and competing, often alone miles from anywhere. It’s a personal pursuit and battle against one’s own will.

We were introduced to Calum through a mutual friend and from the initial telephone conversation where he generously gave us an hour of his time to talk all things fell running, we knew he was the right man for the job.

Then came the pre-production, we spent a great deal of time researching the location and preparing a shot list and visual references. One of the main challenges was filming at high altitude because of the strong risk of clouds blowing in and being left with zero visibility. After a little searching, and turning to Calum for his knowledge of the area we found a beautiful tarn up near Helvellyn which was the perfect setting to shoot. To top things off Calum hadn’t ran that route before so it was fun for him to explore that with us (he says!).

We gave ourselves two days to film the project, recording the voice-over in a pub near Windermere and staying overnight before a 5am start the next day to catch first light. Lugging the Pelli cases and camera gear up steep mountain tracks was a real test on the team but everyone was up for the challenge and pushed on regardless for what ended up being a real labour of love!

Alex Simpson is a London based commercials and content director, who loves to tell stories through beautiful imagery and inspirational individuals in an intimate and authentic way.
Phillip Suddick is a photographer and film-maker based in London, making energetic, creative and authentic work for advertising & editorial clients internationally. He shoots in a relaxed and honest way celebrating vitality, passion and the spirit of adventure.