Helen Russell

World Champion Duathlete and Triathlete

 

 
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Helen Russell - News 2011

2011
Winter
Helen shortlisted for top triathlon award
Helen is celebrating after being nominated for a top triathlon award. Helen has been shortlisted in the ‘Female Duathlete of the Year’ category in the 2012 national triathlon awards run by 220 Triathlon magazine, the UK’s leading triathlon magazine. Helen has been shortlisted following a nationwide vote run by the magazine at the end of last year.

The nomination recognises Helen’s successful 2011 season, which culminated in her taking gold in her age category at the World Duathlon Championships in Spain. Russell also won the Silverstone Duathlon and took bronze in her age group at the British Duathlon Championships, as well as winning numerous triathlons.

Three sportswomen have been shortlisted for the award and the results will be announced in March at a glittering awards ceremony, at Sandown Park in Surrey. Helen will be joined on the night by Britain’s best triathletes and duathletes, including Olympic triathlon hopefuls and World Champions Alistair Brownlee and Helen Jenkins
Warm weather training
Helen has managed to escape the British weather this winter training in Lanzarote and the Costa Blanca. Helen has also written two articles on warm weather training, which have been published in Sportsister and Ryding2Health online magazines.
October
Out of the Saddle charity ride
Helen and fellow Evesham Wheelers member, Tracy Dresch retuned to Rotherham again to take part in this year’s ‘Out of the Saddle’ charity ride and auction.

Helen and Tracy joined a host of professional cyclists to raise money for the CRY-Cardiac Risk in the Young.

As it was Helen’s first ride back after her month of rest she opted for the shorter 45 mile route around the South Yorkshire countryside. The event was organised by pro-cyclists Russell and Dean Downing and Out of the Saddle Secretary John Smith. About 50 riders joined with the Downings and other professionals including National Criterium Champion Graham Briggs (Rapha Condor Sharp) and National Derny Champion Hannah Walker (Motorpoint).

The ride was followed by a packed and lively evening of dancing, eating and interviews with the pros, which now included Team Sky riders Alex Dowsett and Ben Swift. The most important event was of course the charity auction hosted by professional sports commentator, David Harmon.

At the end of the day over £5,000 was raised for the CRY- Cardiac Risk in the Young. CRY was founded in 1995 to raise awareness of conditions that can lead to Young Sudden Cardiac Death and Sudden Death Syndrome. http://www.c-r-y.org.uk/

For more information on the Out of the Saddle Club and their fundraising work log onto www.outofthesaddle.org.uk
Mint-Ease support
Teisen Products the producers of Mint-Ease is celebrating after helping Helen win gold at the World Duathlon Championships.

Teisen Products teamed up with Helen, to provide her with a supply of their popular product ‘Mint-Ease’ in the run up to the World Championships in Spain.

Mint-Ease is a mint-based cream, which increases blood circulation when rubbed into the skin. The use of Mint-Ease will become part of Helen’s training routine to increase blood flow, regenerate tired muscles and prevent injuries.

Helen used the product in the run up to the competition and will continue to use the cream before training to warm up her muscles and also afterwards to aid muscle recovery.

Sven Teisen, from Teisen Products says, “We sponsor a handful of national sports people but really wanted to support a local athlete. Helen does much of her training in the countryside around Bradley Green, where we're based, so she was an ideal athlete to work with. We're delighted to be sponsoring a World Champion and look forward to seeing what the future holds for Helen."
September
Helen Russell- World Champion!
Helen is celebrating after winning gold at the World Duathlon Championships in Gijon, northern Spain.

The race was a sprint distance race consisting of a 5k run, a 19.2k bike and finishing with 2.5k run.

Helen led throughout the first run and had a good transition holding onto her lead going out onto the bike leg. The first half of the bike route was tough with a 3km ascent reaching a gradient of 6%. Unfortunately Helen was overtaken on the ascent by Celia Dubey from the USA and Ruth Gomez Alvarez from Spain. However determined to regain the lead she made a real effort and reached the summit of the climb in first place. She then led for most of the technical decent before being overtaken again by Dubey. The final section of the bike leg saw Helen and Dubey swap position a number of times. Helen entered the second transition in second place but was only a few seconds behind. She powered out of transition and quickly caught and overtook Dubey. On the final run she pushed hard and extended her lead to finish the race in 1.08.43 and take the gold in the 35-39 age category. Dubey finished 36 behinds seconds behind to take the sliver, whilst Gomez Alvarez faded in the final stages and had to settle for the bronze, one minute and 28 seconds behind Helen.

This is Helen’s best ever result and builds on from her World Duathlon bronze in 2009 and European silver in 2010. She will now have a month of rest before starting her winter training.
Ilfracombe Sea Sprint
Helen took silver in her second sea triathlon at the Ilfracombe Sea Triathlon. The race was a short sprint distance with a 400m sea swim, 22k hilly bike leg and an equally hilly 5k run.

Helen had a solid swim exiting the water in third place. She had an excellent transition and quickly caught and overtook the leading women. The bike course tested the competitor’s bike handing skills as the route was an extremely hilly course with long climbs and fast twisting descents. Helen led for most of the bike leg but struggled on some of the descents and was passed on the final descent into the town. However she had her fastest ever transition and so was the first woman out onto the bike leg. She quickly created a large gap between her and the second placed woman but hot on her heels was former age group European Duathlon champion, Robyn Golding who unfortunately caught Helen towards the end of the run. Helen was unable to match her run speed so had to settle for second place finishing 40 seconds behind Robyn in a time of 1:25:38. The time shows how hard the course was with the race being called the “mother of all short courses”!
Tewkesbury Aquathlon
Helen won her final aquathlon of the season at the inaugural Tewkesbury Open Water Aquathlon. The evening event saw a small field cover the 750m swim and 5k run at Croft Farm Water Park. Helen exited the water first female in 13.26 and extended her lead in the run to take the victory in a time of 34.14 over 4“ minutes ahead of the second placed female.
August
South Coast Victory
Helen won her first ever sea swim triathlon at the South Coast Triathlon in Seaford, East Sussex. Helen was using the event as a test event for the 2012 European Triathlon Championships in Israel, which is a sea triathlon.

The race was a sprint distance but the swim was shortened due to very rough sea conditions. The conditions were so bad that at one point organisers announced that the race might be changed to a duathlon. Forty five minutes before the start it was confirmed that the swim would go ahead but would be shortened significantly due to safety concerns.

This was Helen’s first sea triathlon so she did extremely well to be the first woman to exit the sea (covered in sea weed)! Unfortunately she had a shabby transition but still had a decent lead going onto the bike course. The bike leg didn’t prove to be any less hazardous than the swim with a strong coastal wind, 12 dead turns and 300 competitors packed onto a six lap course.

Helen dealt with the conditions well posting the fastest women’s bike leg of the day and extended her lead to over 2mins 27secs. Helen relaxed into the run and only lost 2 seconds on the second placed women to take the victory by 2mins 25secs.

This was a great result in Helen’s first sea based triathlon. She will also test her sea legs at the llfracombe Triathlon in September.
Support from LivingWell
LivingWell Health Club in Bromsgrove has become Helen’s newest sponsor. Helen is delighted that she will be able to train in this high quality, friendly gym. She will use the weights machines and free weights to gain strength over the winter and will also use the 18 meter swimming pool. The health club also benefits from having a steam room, sauna and jacuzzi, which Helen will use to aid her recovery after those tough sessions. The gym which is conveniently located just off junction 4 of the M5 is situated close to both Helen’s workplace and home, which means she can always access the facilities.
July
Alp d’Huez Triathlon
The highlight of Helen’s month was the gruelling Alp d’Huez Triathlon, which took in the legendary Tour de France mountain climb. The race covered a 1.2km swim in Lac du Verney, a 30km bike ride and a 7km run. Part of the bike route was up the 13.8 km long ascent of the Alp d’Huez mountain averaging at a gradient of 7.9%.

Helen’s main priority was to complete the race and raise money for the Primrose Hospice in Bromsgrove. As it was, not only did she complete the race and raise over £400, but she was the second British female finisher, 4th in her age category and 24th woman overall, including the pros.

With 1,200 competitors all starting the swim at the same time, the main priority was to survive the combative start. Helen had a good swim and exited the water 1st in her age category. She eased into the bike leg on the flat leg before climbing the 21 hairpin turns of the mountain and reached the top 4th in her age group. The 7km run at an altitude of 2000m was extremely hard and although she managed to claw back 1min22secs on the 3rd placed woman in her race Helen was unable to find the extra speed needed to make up the extra place and so had to settle for 4th place in her age group.

This was without doubt the hardest race that Helen has ever taken part in but you never know she may be back for the duathlon one day!
Off road victory
Helen won the Cheltenham off-road triathlon for the second year running. The race was a super sprint distance of 400m swim, 10k off-road bike leg and a 2.5k run. Helen finished 1st woman and beat most of the men finishing in 4th place overall and improved on last year’s time by one minute.
Triple the fun
Helen joined members of Pershore based Team Echelon to win the Cardiff Triples. The unusual race took place at the Maindy Cycle Track in Cardiff and was Helen’s first time on a cycle track. The race consisted of three legs of swim, bike, run / run, bike, swim / bike, swim run. The distances for each leg were 200m swim, 4.2km bike and 1km run. Although short in distance the accumulated distance of the three disciplines in different orders meant that competitor’s brains as well as legs were tested! The team was made up of four members, who all started together and could use team tactics including drafting. Team Echelon won the women's event ahead of second placed Tewkesbury Triathlon Women’s Team by a staggering 9minutes 35 seconds!
Cool Pilates
Helen is delighted to announce that Cool Pilates has agreed to sponsor her for another year. Helen takes part in studio or mat classes as part of her weekly training programme.

Modern Pilates, named after Joseph Pilates, is immensely popular and has become a byword in the sphere of rehabilitation from injury and illness. It can help a wide range of individuals, including sports people, wanting to tone and condition their bodies or reassess their posture. Helen finds that pilates helps her core strength and has also helped her to reduce the risk of injuries.

Following the success of the Barnt Green studio, where Helen trains, owner Andy Adamson has now opened COOLPilates, a new Pilates studio in the heart of Birmingham city centre. Both centres are equipped with state of the art Pilates equipment including the wonderfully named Universal Reformer, Trapeze Table, Combination Chair and other highly versatile pieces of equipment devised by Joseph Pilates to maximise the effects of body conditioning.

To find out more about Pilates log onto www.coolpilates.co.uk
June
Silverstone Victory
Helen had her first duathlon victory of the season at the Silverstone Sprint Duathlon, which took place at the world famous Formula One race circuit. The run was on the Porsche Experience track, whilst the bike leg covered three laps of the Formula One international race track. Helen had a solid run coming into transition in 3rd place. She had a good transition and exited in 2nd place. Once on the bike Helen quickly took the lead going into the first corner of the track and extended her lead to almost 3 minutes going into the final run. Helen managed to hold onto her position on the final run, to cross the finish line in 1st place. Helen finished over 2 minutes ahead of the current British age group duathlon champion (35-39 years), showing that her training for the World Sprint Duathlon Championships in September is going well. This was her first race on her new Argon 12-E118 time trial bike, supplied by Tri-UK.
Battle of Bosworth
In the same week as winning the Silverstone Duathlon, Helen had her first triathlon victory of the season at the Terrapin Triathlon at Bosworth Water Park, Market Bosworth. The event was a sprint distance race of 750m open water, 21k bike and 5km run. Helen had a slightly disappointing swim, exiting the water in 4th place. She overtook the 3rd placed woman exiting transition and then powered towards the leading women on her new Argon 12–E118 time trial bike. After a couple of miles Helen caught the two leaders and overtook them both at the same time. She then pulled away and had the fastest women's bike leg of the day to lead into the run. Helen held onto her lead on the run around the lake to take the victory by almost 2 minutes.
Mint Ease Support
Helen is pleased to announce that Mint Ease is her newest sponsor. The Mint Ease company is based in Bradley Green just outside of Helen’s home town and in an area where she can regularly be found training on the bike. This made Helen an obvious sportsperson for the company to support. Helen has been supplied with a stock of Mint Ease products that will see her through her season of training and racing.
Racing for charity
Helen is using her competitive edge to raise money for The Primrose Hospice by taking part in the infamous Alp d’Huez triathlon in France. The race entails a 1.2km swim in Lac du Verney, a 30km bike ride and a 7km run. Despite being a seasoned triathlete this race will be no easy feat for Helen. The bike route takes in the 13.8 km long ascent up the Alp d’Huez mountain averaging at a gradient of 7.9%. Once Helen has navigated the 21 hairpin turns up the mountain she will then have to deal with running 7km at an altitude of 2000m, something she has never tried before.

Her local community has been very supportive of Helen in her endeavours as a triathlete and so she wanted to give something back. The ideal way to do that was to combine a triathlon race with raising money for a good local cause and the Primrose Hospice was the obvious choice.

The race takes place on 28th July and people can sponsor Helen via the Just Giving website www.justgiving.com/hrussell
May
Bronze at British Sprint Triathlon Championships
Helen is celebrating after winning bronze in the British Sprint Triathlon Championships.

The race attracted Britain’s top age-group triathletes to the stunning grounds of Belvoir Castle, just outside of Grantham. The sprint distance race consisted of a 750m lake swim, a rolling 20k bike course around the Vale of Belvoir and a 5km run in the castle grounds.

Helen struggled to get a descent position in the crowded swim, posting a slightly disappointing time of 13-57 but this put her in 2nd place going onto the bike. She quickly caught the race leader but was unable to hold onto the lead in the windy conditions posting a time of 37.28. She had a decent transition heading off into the run still in second place. Unfortunately Helen was overtaken by one competitor on the run, meaning that she crossed the line in third place in the 35-39 age category. Her final time was 1.15.04, which was just 23 seconds behind second place and one minute behind first.

This result means that Helen has qualified for the 2012 European Sprint Triathlon Championships in Eilat, Israel.

In the last twelve months Helen has won a British Championship medal in aquathlon, duathlon and now triathlon. This was the first time that Helen has taken part in the British Sprint Triathlon Championships as she has previously focused on the longer Olympic distance races.
Victory on home soil
Helen joined some of her colleagues as well as members of Bromsgrove and Redditch Athletics Club and local residents to run the Bromsgrove 5k in aid of the Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research charity. Helen was the first woman over the finish line and was presented with her prize by Geoff Thomas, former England and Crystal Palace footballer who has set up the Geoff Thomas Foundation. The Foundation is working to get new treatments to blood cancer patients in the UK, faster. Geoff is working to raise money for a network of national centres, allowing patients to benefit from the latest advances in the diagnosis and treatment of blood cancers. For more information log onto: http://www.geoffthomasfoundation.org
Support from BikeDynamics
Helen paid a visit to BikeDynamics in Leamington Spa to get her new Argon 18 E112 time trial bike fitted. Helen chooses to have all her bikes fitted at BikeDynamics as it offers a relaxed, private and value-for-money service. BikeDynamics has extensively researched the biomechanical theories behind optimum bike fit and coupled them with advanced motion capture technologies. This enables the precise measurement and analysis of Helen’s posture whilst pedalling. The subsequent bike adjustment was customised to Helen’s personal anatomy, flexibility and riding objectives. On her first time trial after the fitting Helen achieved a seasons best.

Website: http://bikedynamics.co.uk
April
Helen re-signed for top triathlon team
Following on from her successful 2010 season Helen has been re-selected as a member of the TRI UK sponsored race team and will be sponsored by TRI UK, Gatorade, FOOR, Newton, 2XU, TYR, Easton, Fizik, Argon, Met, tri247.com and SRAM in a series of national and international races throughout the 2011 season.

Helen joined her fellow team members at the team’s launch in April at the store in Yeovil and picked up her race kit and new Argon 18 E112 time trial bike.

TRI UK was established 19 years ago and is the largest Triathlon retailer in the world and offers a full store and mail order service from their 10,000 square ft retail outlet. TRI UK continues to be the most staunch supporter of the UK triathlon scene sponsoring and supporting some 30 triathlon events and sponsoring Team TRI UK.

For more information log onto www.triuk.com or call the store on 01935 414142.
European Duathlon Championships
There was no “luck of the Irish” for Helen at this year’s European Duathlon Championships in Limerick, Mid-West Ireland.

Helen took on some of Europe’s best age group duathletes covering 15km of running and 38km of cycling along the River Shannon and through the town centre.

The race disappointing for Helen, who was hoping to improve on last year’s silver medal. Unfortunately she lost focus on the first run and from this point onwards struggled to commit properly to the race finishing in 8th place in the 35-39 age category.

Helen was joined by fellow Bromsgrove duathlete, Andy Cunnell (pictured with Helen), who finished in 7th place in the 60-64 age category.

Helen will have a chance to make amends at the World Duathlon Championships in September where she will take on the new challenge of the new short distance duathlon, at the inaugural sprint distance World Championships in Spain.
First triathlon of the season
Helen reached the podium of her first triathlon of the season at this year's Halesowen Triathlon. The event attracted a host of top triathletes including a number of Great Britain age group racers. The race, which started at Halesowen Leisure Centre was a sprint distance race covering 400m swim, 20k cycle and 5k run. After completing the 12 lengths of the pool Helen rode out of the town and over the undulating roads around Clent before returning to the town for the final 5km run, which was a mixture of off-road and road running.

The women's race attracted some top Team GB triathletes from both an elite and amateur level. Pro triathlete Jacqui Slack (pictured with Helen), easily took the victory in 1.12.53, having just returned to the Midlands after training in Africa through the winter. Kidderminster based Great Britain age group triathlete Jacqui Philips took the silver and Helen the bronze.
March
British Duathlon Championships
Helen has got her duathlon season off to a great start winning a bronze medal at the British Duathlon Championships at Clumber Park.

The race saw just under 100 athletes run 15k and cycle 40km around the National Trust owned park near Worksop, Nottinghamshire. Helen ran the first 10k in 41.09. She struggled slightly with the cold on the second lap of the bike leg covering the course in 1.13.01. However, she powered back on the final run covering the final five 5k in 20.55, which meant that she finished in 2.18.10, taking bronze in the 35-39 age category.

This result means that Helen has qualified for the World Duathlon Championships in Gijon, Spain in September. Before that she will be competing at the European Duathlon Championships in Limerick.
Train in Spain
Helen joined 25 other cyclists, including fellow Evesham Wheelers members Tracy Dresch and Jon Moseley, to get in some last minute winter training in Denia, Spain. Helen took part in the Train in Spain training camp that combined cycling in the Marina Alta hills and mountains in the Costa Blanca with evening talks on issues such as nutrition and hydration. Over the week she rode on the same climbs and descents that the pros flock to every winter and followed some of the routes of the Tour of Spain including the challenging 7km Category 2 climb up the Col de Rates.
February
Early season victory
Helen had a perfect start to the multisport season as she fought off other competitors to win the 2011 Halesowen Aquathlon. The aquathlon was a sprint distance covering a 400 meter indoor pool swim and 5km run. The event started at the Halesowen Leisure Centre and the run was an out and back route which saw athletes leave the town centre to cover some off-road terrain. Helen often does this race as a warm up competition as it is the perfect time to start practicing her top end speed.
Cross country success
Helen was part of the Bromsgrove and Redditch Athletic Club women veterans team that won bronze in the Gloucestershire Cross Country League for the 2010/11 season. The award recognises consistency in the league as teams have to compete in all four events. Helen was a point scorer in the competitions at Cheltenham and Plock Court, Gloucester.
Recognising achievement
Helen was the keynote speaker at this year’s Bromsgrove District Council Sports Awards evening. After winning the Female Sports Personality Award last year Helen was invited back to kick off the proceedings. Helen used her speech to recognise the achievements of local sports people and also the work of the Bromsgrove Council Sports Development Team.
January
Worcestershire Country Cross Country Champions
Helen was part of the winning team at the Worcestershire County Cross Country Championships on 8th January at Cofton Park. Helen was the second point scorer for Bromsgrove and Redditch Athletics Club and third senior woman. This season has marked a return to cross country running for Helen after a break of over two years.
Bromsgrove Advertiser Sports Personality
After winning the award last year Helen finished third in this year’s Bromsgrove Advertiser Sports Personality. Helen finished behind Olympic cycling hopeful Jessica Varnish and Rob McLaren, founder of the new Bromsgrove Sporting football team. After winning last year Helen was just pleased to make the shortlist for this year’s award and would like to thank everyone that voted for her.
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