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Sat 23rd Nov 2019
Hellvelyn Triathlon report
Posted by: Press Releases
Posted on: Wednesday 8th September 2010

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TriHard Events hosted their 7th annual Helvellyn Triathlon on Sunday 5th September 2010 at Glenridding.

The mile long swim in Ullswater, 38 mile bike section and 9 mile run all doesn't sound too bad until you examine the route in detail. Then it dawns that the cycling leg is a road based loop around the Helvellyn massif and includes a climb of the infamous “Struggle” to the top of the Kirkstone Pass. This is then immediately followed by a run to the top of Helvellyn (at 949m England's 3rd highest mountain) via the airy Swirral Edge before heading back down the zig zags to finish at Glenridding. It's no surprise then that Triathlete Europe Magazine rates the Helvellyn Triathlon as one of the 10 toughest triathlons in the World.

©Sport Sunday Event Photography

700 competitors took to the start line early on Sunday morning. The water temperature in Ullswater was a fairly bearable 16° C, however, a gusty wind made it relatively choppy on the return leg back to the shore. The fastest swimmer out of the water was Steve Worthington in a time of 21 minutes exactly closely followed by Nicholas Dyer in 21 minutes and 47 seconds.

A quick turn-around in the transition zones is vital for a good overall time in triathlon and the race leaders made their change from wetsuits to bike kit and were a wheel less than 1 minute from entering the transition area.

The 38 mile bike leg is unforgiving and the first climb up towards Dockray soon wiped away any chills felt from the swim. If this climb was not enough, as the competitors turned on the B5322 into St John's in the Vale it was straight into a strong headwind all the way to Ambleside. Spectators lined the Struggle to cheer on the athletes helping them reach the top of this seemingly never ending climb. Then it was a rapid descent down Kirkstone Pass, past Brothers Water and back to the transition at Glenridding. The fastest bike time of the day was by Martin Cain in a time of 1:46:46.

Switching from the bike to the run is a well practiced discipline amongst triathlete's but it never makes it any easier. Within a mile of the transition lines of athletes could be seen striding up Little Cove towards Hole in the Wall under the East face of Helvellyn. It's a brutal start and a true test of the athlete's stamina. With tired legs the final scramble up Swirral Edge is hard work and yesterday at the summit you were greeted not only by a friendly marshal, and a strong wind gusting over the tops. Just when you think the climbing is over you have a gentle run back up to the cairn at Whiteside Bank and then finally it's all downhill with racers charging down the zigzags at Red Screes and on another 4 mile or so back to the finish at Glenridding.

©Sport Sunday Event Photography

The first racer in from the run was Julian Hatcher, whose run time was an outstanding 1:18:20 putting him in overall first position. He was closely followed by Martin Cain from the National Fire Service Triathlon Section. The first lady was Naomi Fowler who completed the entire course in 4:15:50, with Karen Poole close on her heels in a total time of 4:16:44. A full listing of results can be seen below.

All credit must go to the winners for their exceptional performance in the race but one racer's story shows ridiculous determination to complete the event. The marshals sweeping up the bike course found a lone biker clutching his wheel on the side of the road in Thirlmere. Broken spokes prevented him from continuing the race so he decided he would run to Grasmere to see if there was a bike shop. Trying to be helpful the marshals went ahead of him to Grasmere to see if there was a shop and if they had a wheel. They returned empty handed with information of a bike shop in Ambleside. Determined to remain on the course he asked the marshals if they could buy him a wheel and bring it back. They obliged and went to Biketreks and returned with a wheel. By then he had run all the way to Rydal in his bike shoes with cleats! With the wheel replaced he continued on and finished the race. That deserves a medal in its own right!

It was another incredible race organised by TriHard Events – If you were inspired by what you have read then take a look at the website for more challenging events

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