Helen Fines' Fell-Running Update

Its about time i updated on my activities this summer.. Having been called up for Yorkshire at the last minute for the Inter-Counties Fell Running Championships, i was surprised to have a good enough run to get selected for England in the Snowdon International. I was 7th in the Inter-Counties, part of a winning Yorkshire team. In fact, the England team at Snowdon was an all-Yorkshire affair- me and my two team mates, Holly and Katie, whose combined age was only 2 years older than me! But experience must count for something as i ran steadily but strongly uphill to reach the summit in 5th place, but overtook 3 women on the descent, including Katie, to finish second behind Tessa Hill, running for Arcteryx Canada. My prizes included an invite to the Trofeo Vanoni, a short steep race in the Italian Dolomites in October. http://www.mudsweatandtears.co.uk/2012/07/23/strain-rockets-to-snowdon-win/
A month after Snowdon, another trip to Italy, for my 4th appearance for GB in the Staffetta Tre Rifugi. This gets bigger and better every year, and this being the 50th anniversary the organisers had secured more sponsorship and a TV package- not that women athletes feature much in it! Our team was led out by Mary Wilkinson with a strong run to put us in second place at the first changover. Sarah Ridgeway handed over to me in 4th, and i had a great run on the final leg- a 3000 foot descent over 6.5k, which i did in a p.b. of 19:10, knocking 40 secs off the course record. This was especially pleasing as last year i went home from the race on crutches! The GB men outdid us this time though, with a winning performance, all 3 of them running superbly.http://www.mudsweatandtears.co.uk/2012/08/27/gb-dominate-at-3-rifugi/
The English Fell Running Championships are not going so well, in fact i’ll fail to complete this year due to illness and navigational errors (not for the first time!), but i am leading the British Championships. The final race is on Saturday at Moel Wnion in North Wales, where i will be giving it my all, although my main rival has a race in hand over me and it’ll be a big ask to retain the lead. Never mind, next season promises to be a good one- i am as fit as i ever have been, so am planning to build on it with some cross-country over the winter. Rule changes for the championship points series as of 2013 will be favourable to me as a consistent all-rounder. 
I have only managed a few outings in the Vegan Runners vest this summer. One was the Rydal horseshoe in the Lake District, where i was soundly thrashed by Mel Hyder, a recent top-10 placer at the World Junior Mountain Running Championships. My excuse is it was a few days after Snowdon and my legs felt like limp dish cloths! The other was the Pendletion Fell Race near Clitheroe, a really enjoyable short race on an extremely wet day, where i finished 3rd overall and first woman by a fair way. I overtook men throughout the race and finished strongly wearing the VRUK colours- no better way to prove to the unenlightened that lack of animal protein is no impediment to athletic success 🙂