Helen Fines' Best Season 2013

2013 was my best season ever.. after many runner-up spots I managed to win the British and English Fell Running Championships. Even then, I couldn’t quite win them properly.. both are a points series, and I ended up on a tie in both champs with the same woman, Victoria Wilkinson from Bingley. Vic is an awesome competitor and its no disgrace to tie with her! If i’m honest, but for her injured ankle mid season it would probably have been second place for me again.

There are too many races to describe, but the highlights were winning the Northern Ireland race, Silent Valley, after having norovirus (I do not recommend this, although it’s certainly a good weight loss diet..), and winning the Blisco race in July. I did every champs race in the series this year, that’s 3 long races, 4 mediums, and 2 shorts in total. I daren’t add up the total miles run and feet of ascent.. but it was flippin hard work, in addition to doing night shifts, sometimes 80 hours a week, looking after 5 dogs and doing an OU degree in my ‘spare’ time.. No surprise I do not have a social life 🙂

Somehow I found time to get an England vest in the World Long Distance Mountain Running Champs and a GB vest for an international mountain relay which I’ve now done 5 times. The World LD was in Poland this year, on a brutal course, 26m and 7500 feet of climb, almost all of it on rock hard ground, in 35 degree heat. The other challenging part of that trip was trying to be a vegan in a country where even vegetarians are unusual. Suffice to say, if I ever see another cabbage again it’ll be too soon.

I’ll admit that by September the wheels were well and truly coming off and my form at the tail end of the season was poor, but I’d done enough. I’m still thinking about plans for 2014, and maybe some new challenges. To recover from a pretty exhausting (although good) year, I went on an awesome vegan retreat in Gloucestershire for a week. If anyone wants any details of this let me know. It’s absolutely fantastic if you just want to get away and have some time away from this crazy world!