Ed: Helen Fines competes with the elite fell runners in the national championship:
The Duddon fell race was the third round of the English Championships and the longest race in the series at 20m/6000′. I was lying in second place overall prior to this, behind last years champion Lauren Jeska. I really needed to win this one to stay in with a chance of the overall win, but it was not to be… It was boiling hot and there were a few worried faces on the start line. I don’t mind the heat, anything that makes the race more a test of endurance than speed is fine by me! Lauren went off very fast, as usual, and i settled down behind her in the pack.. a pattern then developed for the whole race where i would be never more than a minute behind.. catching up on the descents, and losing a bit on the ascents. I finally caught her with about 400m left to go, but although the spirit was willing, the body was unable.. she beat me by 13 seconds, after 3h14min of cat-and-mouse racing. It was quite an epic, and a good experience to be part of, even though i’d rather have won! It’s a while since i’ve trashed myself this much in a race.. i really had nothing left at the end, and couldn’t have tried any harder. So i am still in second overall, its unlikely i’ll improve on that, but never say die!
Round 2 was held on 14 May in the South-West Pennines, venue Clitheroe. Over a short course of 3.5 miles and 366 metres of climbing, Helen finished 4th lady in 35:47.
Round 1 was held on 6 March in Shropshire near the Welsh border, venue Church Stretton. Over a course of 11.5 miles and 1372 metres of climbing, Helen finished 2nd lady in 1:57:58.
In the British Championships, round 1 was held 0n 9 April in Northern Ireland and over a course of 12.5 miles and 1890 metres of climbing, Helen finished 2nd lady in 2:38:11 .