You don’t have to be a Special Forces soldier to complete this event. Anyone capable of walking 15 miles and able to manage going uphill can take part. Invariably some participants will go faster than others. The true essence of the Fan Dance comes from within, you commit to training, be there on the day and you do your very best at all times. With such a philosophy every participant will be successful.
The lower age limit is 18 with no upper age limit. Potential Fan Dancers below the age of 18 must have a background of regular physical activity and requires parental consent. Fan Dancers of 15 & 16 years must be accompanied by a parental guardian on the hills.
Age is no barrier to participation or success. Regardless of your age, if you are still active, have a background of physical activity and no serious medical condition the opportunity is there for the taking. Our most senior finisher so far is a 71year old former SAS soldier.
No. The Fan Dance is a non-navigational exercise and the route will be marked, with Mountain Safety Marshals and Directing Staff manned checkpoints at strategic points throughout the course.
On the British Special Forces “Selection” course candidates are expected to complete the march in a time of 4 hours. The march typically comes at the end of Week one of back to back endurance training and marches staged over four weeks. On The Fan Dance Race UK, Load-Bearing competitors will complete the march between 3 and 7 hours. The Clean Fatigue competitors will complete the course between 2 to 5 hours. These times are estimates only and based on previous events. Weather conditions will invariably affect timings.
The cut off limit to reach the halfway point is 3 hours 15 minutes. The decision to allow participants to continue beyond this limit rests entirely at the discretion of the Directing Staff manning the checkpoint. Those under the time limit but displaying signs of exhaustion, injury or lack of mental focus may also be pulled from the march by any of the Directing Staff. This is for safety reasons and their decision will be final. Directing Staff retain the right to pull participants from the march at any time. It should be noted that we have to observe the hours of daylight during the British winter time. We do not want anyone on the trail after last light.
The Directing Staff provide a series of email information packs covering all matters Fan Dance related. Details of the subjects covered can be found on the Base Camp page.
No, all nationalities are welcome.
No, both former and current serving military and civilians are all welcome.
AEE will email out a clothing & equipment list.
Check your spam/junk files or try from a home/personal device rather than workplace computer with security settings. If you still find no content from AEE, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The information packs put together by our DS & Base Camp Team take a lot of time and energy and are therefore reserved for those who commit themselves to the event. Distributing these information packs also has an administrational burden attached to it and part of the registration fee pays for the handling and processing of all information and requests directed to us. AEE also wish to protect their commercial and intellectual property. The route map may be subject to change owed to weather conditions or land owner work. It is therefore only sent out once we can confirm accuracy.
Both military boots and civilian trekking boots are acceptable. Invariably boot choice and selection depends on the edition and weather conditions.
Trail and fell running shoes are best suited to the Fan Dance. Road running trainers/sneakers are not permitted.
Military Bergen/packs and civilian rucksacks are both acceptable.
The Directing Staff send out an emailing clothing & equipment guide and a check list.
AEE do have affiliated accommodation built around our long standing relationship with local business and the Beacons National Park outdoor education centres. Upon completing registration we send out an email information pack detailing the very best of local accommodation options, often with favourable pricing. For the Fan Dance winter edition the Storey Arms Outdoor Education Centre welcomes patrons by making their 50 beds available. This is the ultimate venue to be based at, in the very heart of the Fan Dance Base Camp which marks the event start and finish point. Be advised, the centre only accepts bookings through AEE. For additional information regarding places to stay and camp in the local area please contact the Brecon Tourist Information Office on (01874) 623156 or visit www.breconbeaconstourism.co.uk
No, the Storey Arms is now an outdoor activity centre. The nearest pub is the Taer Bull Inn in Libanus, 5 miles north of the Storey Arms.
Yes you can bring your dog. Please ensure you carry waste bags and also consider your animal’s food and water needs. Dogs do get awarded a finisher’s patch and a post march burger/hog roast.
Yes, you can start together as a pair/ team or group at the earlier/later category time. This action will however make you ineligible for the competitive element and winners’ prizes.
The Fan Dance is an individual test but you are welcome to march in groups or teams. There is at present no team competition.
Groups can register as a team by emailing us through the CONTACT link. There are various levels of discount for group sizes over 5. Larger groups qualify for superior discounts.
Depending on age and physical ability this is acceptable. Contact the DS team.
Owed to the demandsof the Fan Dance and its associated risks, no individual is able to determine how long they will be out on the ground for in case of getting lost, injured or any other emergency situation. The organisers have a duty of care to ensure that event patrons always have enough fluid during the hot weather editions and sufficient supplies to heat water during the cold weather months. Our water carrying requirements fit with those on the Special Forces Selection course and are in place for your safety over weight saving measures.
We are an inclusive organisation and while there are some women capable of carrying the full weight, the majority who support our event would not be able to achieve the half way point cut off time. For those wishing to enjoy a concession free Selection experience, our six Test Week marches offer an opportunity to enjoy our most demanding and gold standard events with universal load requirments.
There is currently plentiful free public parking opposite the Storey Arms Centre although this is subject to change pending an intended land purchase by the National Trust. Please do not park in the Storey Arms Centre parking area as it is exclusively reserved for AEE and the Centre’s staff.
The nearest public toilets can be found just 400 metres down the road from the red phone box, located in the next lay-by towards Merthyr Tydfil. Any soldier worth his salt knows to carry a spare bog roll with him. Note: The Storey Arms staff have requested that AEE patrons and staff do not use the centre’s toilets. The facility is only open to guests accommodated at the centre.
The Fan Dance is a self-sustained march and you will be responsible for your own nutritional needs during the event. There will be additional water supplies and hot brews at the halfway point, although this cannot be guaranteed if the back roads are snowed in during the winter edition. There will be a post-march meal and drinks which is complimentary to all Fan Dancers.
A coveted Fan Dance Racecloth finisher’s patch and a post march meal. There will be special prizes for the winners in each category as well as True Grit& Fortitude awards.
There will be no refunds.
Firstly, we want you to be committed and not back out of the challenge. Secondly, we put considerable expense into getting participants to the start line and have year round administrational and other running costs. Staging an event of this kind where safety is such a high priority is very expensive. Also, by withdrawing close to race day you potentially deprive someone else of taking part.
Yes, with a £10 administration fee.
No, there are no transfers to other events.
Yes, this is possible. Please contact theadministration staff at least one week before the event date.
You will be supplied safety pins at registration.
All participants in the Fan Dance Race Series will be required to sign a waiver that protects the organizers from liability for their personal safety. This is routine for such events and indicates an individual’s acknowledgement that they are entering a potentially hazardous event and that they take the appropriate responsibility.
No. We need to ensure you have received and read all our information / safety emails. We also need an accurate tally of the number of competitors to ensure the smooth running of the event and for the obvious mountain safety reasons.
Yes. Results will be available on www.fandancerace.com
and via email internet links within three working days of the event.
There will be official event photography, with a complimentary finisher’s photo for all participants. If weather conditions allow we will also have a mountain top photographer to capture the best of the action. Our event photos are your photos and something we never charge for.
The Fan Dance was originally a Load Bearing only event and the original price point designed around this category, with man power and time on the ground taken into consideration. Clean Fatigue athletes typically cover the route far quicker with far less injuries and incidents. The lower priced Clean Fatigue category actually helps to financially support your Load Bearing experience by allowing us to keep your fee respectable and for AEE to assemble the UK’s only dedicated event mountain safety team, which provides the greater service to Load Bearers.
The AEE Fan Dance Race UK is the first and original Fan Dance summer and winter event with a provable history and heritage telling as much. Our safety record is unblemished and where other Special Forces themed events companies have relied on mountain rescue teams in instances where they have lost their patrons, AEE has its own dedicated Mountain Safety Team than can respond, reach and recover patrons far quicker than emergency service teams who take up to an hour to be on site. Our ethos is one of integrity and this means our DS team has always been made up entirely of former SAS & SBS soldiers, a claim no other organisation can credibly make. AEE maintain the same core DS team who work and train together regularly, positioning us at the very apex of the UK military fitness and events industry. Our Mountain Safety assets are cutting edge and allow us to deliver a safer and more authentic Fan Dance, one without concessions and as close the real Selection as possible. AEE invest heavily in the assets and people, leaving the distance between the AEE Fan Dance and any other immeasurable on every level.
AEE is a special organisation with a unique sense of community and we care greatly for our founding event, the Fan Dance. We don’t seek to franchise our organisation or events out and are in it for the long run, out of pure passion for what we do, born through absolute experience. We guarantee that your time on the high hills with AEE will be unrivalled and that we’ll deliver a superior and safer Fan Dance to any other or your money back.
The SAS run their infamous “Selection” testing programme only twice a year; a winter course starting in January and a summer course in July. Given that tradition and authenticity are of the utmost importance to us, we will also run a summer and a winter event. Both versions provide a very different challenge although it is hard to say which one is harder than the other.
This question is debated fiercely among the Directing Staff with eachstrongly endorsing their homeland edition.
Beyond the Fan Dance we enter into the realms of the six test marches, the business end of the SAS & SBS Selection course that are arguably the most demanding military tests on earth. These are our gold standard and very best events and can be considered one of the world’s great pilgrimages in terms of adventure and meaningful challenge.
SAS: Special Air Service.
SBS: Special Boat Service.
“The Fan”: Pen y Fan, the highest mountain in the Brecon Beacons (886 metres) which must be summited from two sides in The Fan Dance race.
Jacob’s Ladder: Steepest, most demanding of Pen y Fan’s slopes.
Windy Gap: Important track intersection at the valley trail head, strongly exposed to the wind.
Roman Road: Long and undulating off road vehicle track stretching from Windy Gap to Tal Fechan forest.
DS: Directing Staff, term for instructors manning training wing of UK Special Forces Selection cadre. DS are specifically SAS or SBS rather than attached unit personnel.
RV: Rendezvous or French for meeting place. Military speak for Checkpoint.
FRV: Final RV
ERV: Emergency meeting place
Bergen: A type of military issue rucksack named after the Norwegian city of the same name.
Test Week: Last week of four week physical testing programme. Consists of six endurance marches culminating in “The Long Drag,” a 20 hour navigational test carrying 55 pounds, rifle, food and water over the highest peaks of the Brecon Beacons.
Load Bearing: Format of the Fan Dance in which participants must carry a Bergen/backpack that meets the stipulated weight requirements.
Clean Fatigue: Military term for parachuting without a load, be it weapon, equipment or other supplies. Typically carried out as a trainee parachutist or refresher training for qualified personnel. In the Fan Dance context, the term means to run with a modified and reduced equipment scale compared to the Load Bearing category.
SOP: Standard Operating Procedure.
MST: Mountain Safety Team
Comms’: Communications-radio/cell phone etc
Casevac: Casualty Evacuation
VW: Voluntary Withdrawal (To give up/withdraw oneself from an exercise)
Endex: End of exercise/test
TD: Training Day
7 P’s: Prior Planning and Preparation Prevents a Piss Poor Performance
Ally, allie, ali: Allyness’ is best described as military fashion sense, or battle field chic, i.e. wearing various non-issue items, or modifying issue clothing or equipment. Stylish, tough or “hard” looking. The civilian equivalent of “cool” is not able to do the term “ally” justice.
What stuff is ally?: Typical examples include: *SAS smocks (gabardine version) *Woolen hats *Zips with grenade pin attached
Brew: (Army/RAF) a hot drink, a cup of tea or coffee. “Want a brew?” = would you like a hot drink?
Bivi: (Military) a temporary encampment with few facilities, as used by soldiers, mountaineers, etc. “To bivvy up” to make shelter for the night, typically using a poncho
Buzz: gossip, rumours. What’s the buzz?
Bootneck: A Royal Marine. Early commandos would tie leather cut from boots around their neck to serve as protection from having their throats slit.
Casevac: casualty evacuation
Charlie Foxtrot: / CF / cluster f*ck. Chaotic situation with all plans disintegrating in all directions
Chubby bar: (Army) term for chocolate
Dhobi: (Army) derived from the Malay word dobi, meaning “to wash”
Nails: Tough, robust. Can be appiled to person or situation. “That was nails”. “He’s nails”.
Nutty: (RN/RM) term for Chocolate
PARA: Member of the Parachute Regiment. See “ally” and ‘nails’
Scoff: (army) Food, meal.
Spin a dit: (RN) tell a story
Thrashed: Unrelenting mode of physical training, typically a form of punishment. “Thrashed within an inch of our lives” is common parlance within elite military units.
Ulu: (Army) a remote or rural area, from the Malay language; “Out in the ulu” = away from base and populated areas.
Wet: (RN) a hot drink, a cup of tea or coffee. “Want a wet?” = would you like a hot drink?