Feature: Capturing the thrills and spills of Sheffield fell running  

Tom Beaumont with a drawing of trees & paths
Tom Beaumont with a drawing of trees & paths

If you ever bump into a fell race out on the hills, watch one of the leaders hurtling down a rocky slope and you may find yourself wondering at what point exactly they’re going to break an ankle. 

“I’m really happy running downhill,” said Tom Beaumont.

Tom Beaumont of runningink.co.uk in Endcliffe Park

Tom Beaumont of runningink.co.uk in Endcliffe Park

“It’s like a computer game, with all the stones laid out in front of you, looking two metres ahead, rapidly planning your next three steps, then the next three, knowing if you don’t get it right, it could all end really badly.

“On my first race I checked my heart rate at the bottom and was really surprised it was over 200.

“Then I realised I hadn’t actually been breathing as I plummeted down.” 
Tom keeps a running diary after his various marathons, 10Ks and road, fell or cross country races, but rather than times and stats his diary shows his impressionistic shapes of the trees, rocks, hills and heather in and around the Outdoor City. 
“When I first started running here, I’d come back and want to capture the landscape in a picture to remember it.

“But then full of adrenaline after a cross country in Kimberworth, I tried to draw a picture of the race itself.

Hallam Park Run

Hallam Park Run

“People liked it, so my pictures became about running in the landscape rather than the landscape itself, about how it makes you feel, whether it’s the scenery, the experience, the views, the paths, or all the people there.” 
So his fell runner’s descent picture is a curiously angled pair of blue trainers surrounded by jagged rocks.
Earlier this year, Tom began printing and selling his artworks through his runningink.co.uk website and the Frontrunner shop on Sharrowvale Road, near where he lives. 
“I worried I was getting overexcited, so I put £200 in a bank account to cover costs, and if it ran out and no-one bought anything I could just say, ‘Oh well, I tried.’” 
He put three race prints on sale at Frontunner covering the Sheffield Hallam parkrun at Endcliffe Park, the Sheffield Half marathon, and the Tigger Tor fell race, and six sold in the first week. 
“I thought my friends were just being nice when they said they liked my pictures, so I was surprised to be selling them to people I didn't know.” 
After six months, he’s sold over 50 prints and his £200 ‘make it or break it’ account is safe.

He’s also raised £200 for Weston Park Cancer Charity by making a donation from prints of the popular Round Sheffield Run race, after linking with organisers Kandoo Events, who support the charity.
After graduating as a landscape architect from Sheffield University, Tom tried life in the countryside of rural Hertfordshire then the urban excitement of London before following friends back to Sheffield, where he says he found the best of both worlds.
“Sheffield is like mashing these two things together, a great city with all the beautiful countryside as well.

“I tell people I can walk twenty minutes from where I live to the city centre, or twenty minutes the other way I’m in the Peak District.”
Like most of the city’s running, walking, cycling and climbing businesses, he’s sold on the Outdoor City ethos.
“Sheffield really is this dynamic, active place. It’s what makes Sheffield Sheffield in my eyes.” 
This year, Tom is producing a new print every month, selling to runners and their friends and families from Sheffield and beyond.

He’s now branching out to a set of Christmas cards, depicting how people can run from near the city centre at Hunters Bar or Brincliffe Edge up the woodland valleys to the wilderness of the city’s outer moorland.
The runners of Sheffield are friendly and supportive, and come in all shapes and sizes, he says, which he tries to depict in his artworks. 
“I hope my pictures might inspire people to run,” he said.

Sheffield TenTen

Sheffield TenTen

“I’m not looking to quit the day job, at present this is a hobby I enjoy.

“But I’d like to push it a bit further to see where it goes.”

Tom Beaumont with one of his diary drawings of a path through trees

Tom Beaumont with one of his diary drawings of a path through trees

Tigger Tor Fell Race

Tigger Tor Fell Race