Helen Fines is the joint winner of the British Fell Championship series after a four race series against the best of British runners. She has also won the English championships.
The British championships comprised of four races (two medium distance and one short, one long) with each runner using their three best scores.
In particular Helen was pleased with her July run at Pike O’Blisco in the English Lake District, which she won, in which she was able to beat her strongest rival Victoria Wilkinson (with whom she shares the British title). The run is a short straight ‘up-and-down’ race which Helen describes as ‘painful’.
Helen also won the Silent Valley in County Down, Northern Ireland which takes place next to the Silent Valley reservoir. She was also pleased with a Scottish run at Yetholm near the English border where she finished second to Wilkinson.
The English championships were a complex format based on six races at three different distances, of which the best four scores were to count.
The Pike O’Blisco race counted towards the English championships and she also won the medium length Turner Landscape and long Wasdale Horseshoe.
By September Helen was feeling the effects of the two championships and an international race, which meant her later races were at a lower standard, although her earlier results meant she had secured enough points.
Her international was in Poland in the World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge in which she was part of the English team. The race was 26 miles and included 7000 feet of height climb on hard terrain in heats reaching 35 degrees with no shade. Preparations were hampered by a difficulty in finding vegan food, and breadsticks and cabbage made up most of her meals. She still managed to put in a strong run and came 6th overall and helped England towards a team Bronze medal.
Helen is planning to run in the series next year and is also considering some ultramarathons and Sky Running mountain races.
Helen, who work as a veterinary surgeon, is also starting a website focussing on the welfare of greyhounds and related breeds, at www.long-dogs.co.uk.