Helen Russell

World Champion Duathlete and Triathlete

 

 
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Helen Russell - News 2016

2016
November
Pedal Power for Air Ambulance
Helen has been sharing her skills to raise funds for Air Ambulance, organising a number of classes at the Wattbike training centre in Evesham in aid of the charity. Helen has led two classes on ‘Stretching for Cyclists’ followed by a Wattbike taster workshop and in the process has raised over £300 for Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance and its sister charity, the Children’s Air Ambulance. The classes have attracted cyclists from across Worcestershire and due to demand will continue next year, with the next Wattbike taster workshop being held on Monday 30 January. To register email Helen on info@hrussell.co.uk Thanks to Eddie Fletcher from Fletcher Sports Science for the use of the Wattbike centre.
Winter training
This winter Helen is again teaming up with the Terralta Apartotel Benidorm for her winter training. Situated at the foothills of the Marina Mountains, the Terralta is the ideal location for cyclists and triathletes. The apartments are cycle friendly and a great place to meet other cyclists to ride and socialise with. Due to some of the best cycling routes and mountain climbs in Europe the Costa Blanca is a favourite destination of the pro cyclists and triathletes. The Terralta offers an indoor pool and gym equipped with cardio and weights equipment. Benidorm running track is behind the hotel and the municipal 25m pool is within walking distance. Located just 1km from the beach, the year round temperatures means that sea swimming is possible. Helen is also being supported by Ciclo Costa Blanca, who will provide her with a bike during her stay in Benidorm.
September
Quadrathlon Debut
Helen wasted little time in making her mark in the quadrathlon world as she claimed victory in her first ever competition at the Shrewsbury Quadrathlon. Comprising of four disciplines – swim, kayak, bike and run – a quadrathlon is a real test of an athlete’s endurance and ability across four challenging sports.

The race, which was a British Quadrathlon Association trophy race, started at the West Midlands Showground and saw competitors swim 500m and kayak 4.2km in the River Severn, cycle 23km out to Baschurch and back before finally running 5km in the showground. Helen had a great swim as she quickly created a gap between herself and the other competitors and exited the river in first place. Being a novice quadrathlete, unlike the experienced racers, she had to put on a buoyancy aid in transition which cost her time so she entered her kayak in fourth place. Despite only starting kayaking this April, just one competitor overtook her on the 4.2km route and after the second discipline Helen was lying in fifth place. Helen’s strength is on the bike and she caught the other competitors one by one until finally overtaking the lead woman – 2015 British Quadrathlon National Trophy Series winner Jean Ashley – at the 4.5-mile mark. Helen then pushed hard to build what she hoped would be a decisive lead as she covered the 23km route in 41.10 and entered the final transition 1min. 51secs ahead of second placed Kate Burgoyne from Hereford Triathlon Club. With this lead, Helen could relax slightly on the 5km run but still extended her lead significantly to finish in 1:37.37, ahead of second placed Burgoyne in 1:41.41 and third placed Ashley in 1:44.29. She now plans to continue to improve her kayaking with Worcester Canoe Club and aims to target the British Quadrathlon Trophy races next season.
Stoke on Trent Triathlon
Helen took another win in her final race of the season at the Stoke on Trent, European City of Sport Triathlon at Trentham Gardens. The race was actually Helen’s only open water triathlon of the season and she dominated from start to finish. The slightly long 750m swim was twice around the Trentham estate lake and Helen exited the water in second place but overtook the leader in the transition area so posted the quickest split time of the day at 15.36. There followed a long run to the bike transition area which Helen reached first and she never looked back, posting the fastest bike split of the day covering the 20km in 34.42. Helen had built up a good lead so could relax into the final 5k and crossed the finish line in 1.17.58 finishing over 4 minutes ahead of the second placed finisher. This is a fantastic end to the season for Helen, who will now take a well-deserved break before setting her 2017 season goals.
Rivers Fitness Partnership
Helen is pleased to have teamed up with Rivers Fitness who are delighted to sponsor her multi-sport ambitions. To support her training needs Helen will have access to the leisure centres within Wychavon (Droitwich, Evesham and Pershore) which will enable her to use the excellent facilities on offer from the 25 metre pools, state of the art Rivers gyms, a great selection of classes and the health suites to aid her recovery after hard sessions.

Sharon Keen, Marketing Manager at Wychavon Leisure says, “We are delighted to sponsor Helen through our Rivers Gifted and Talented Membership. She has already achieved so much in her sporting career and still keeps on winning. Her commitment to training and competing is exemplary and this shows in her results.”
August
Portishead Triathlon
Helen finished on the podium at her first sprint triathlon of the season. Helen, who is just returning to triathlon after focussing on endurance cycling last year, had a successful race at the Portishead Triathlon finishing 2nd overall and 1st veteran. The race started in the open air Portishead Lido where Helen had a reasonable start, swimming the 400m in 6.44 which put her in 5th place. She then headed out onto the undulating 25kms bike course, which followed the coastal road before heading in land to complete two loops. Helen had 4th fastest bike leg of the day, which was slightly disappointing and then headed out onto the 5km run, which was again a hilly affair. Helen covered the 5k in 22.47m to finish in an overall time of 1hr23, which was good enough for the runner up spot and 1st veteran. Although Helen wasn’t really happy with her split times, her consistency over the three events secured a decent position.
July
Saddling up for Air Ambulance
Helen and fellow Evesham Wheelers member, twelve year old Aimee Lane, mounted static bikes at The Valley in Evesham on the final day of the Tour de France to ride the distance of La Course, the women’s one day stage race. The duo pedalled through the day to raise £327 for Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance and its sister charity, the Children’s Air Ambulance. Earlier in the week both riders also organised a ‘Stretching for Cyclists’ class, which raised £85 taking their weeks fundraising tally to £412.
Triathlon Victory
Helen participated in her first triathlon for three years and was delighted to take the win. The ‘Tri in the Park’, organised by Cheltenham Triathlon Club, took place in Pittville Park, Cheltenham and attracted over 100 athletes. The race was a super sprint distance covering 400m swim, 10k off-road bike and 2.5k off-road run. Helen lined up at the start with no expectations but easily finished 1st woman and beat most of the men finishing in 6th place overall.
Lake 62 Aquabike
Helen competed in her first ever Aquabike at the end of July at the Cotswold Water Park. The race consisted of a 750m swim and 20.5km bike and was popular, following the announcement of the ITU that there will be an age-group world championships in Aquabike from 2017. Helen was first woman out of the water and second overall but was unfortunately overtaken in transition by top GB age group triathlete and international medallist, Maria Powell. Helen tried hard to catch Maria but couldn’t match her speed and had to settle for 2nd place. Despite missing the top spot Helen was pleased with her effort as her finishing time beat the previous course record and she finished 5th overall, beating most of the male field as well as the women.
June
National Aquathlon Championships
Helen returned to national level multi-sport racing at the National Aquathlon Championships in Leeds. The event, which kicked off the World Triathlon Series race saw the country’s top aquathletes tackle the 750m swim and hilly 5km run around Roundhay Park. Helen, who is working to regain her run form, was pleased to finish a credible 2nd place in her age category.
Dieppe Raid
Helen joined members of her cycling club, Evesham Wheelers for the 45th edition of the Dieppe Raid, started by former Wheelers member Neville Chanin, in commemoration of the original Dieppe Raid in 1942, when Canadian Allies suffered devastating losses. The Raid offers a series of distances and Helen was one of only two women to complete the longest route of 200km and took home the category trophy.
Women’s Tour
Helen was honoured to be invited to ride the Warwickshire stage of this year’s Aviva Women’s Tour a day ahead of the race to help raise awareness of the five stage national Tour. Helen joined BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire presenter, Phil Upton and a small group of prominent local cyclists to ride the route, which the professionals raced the following day. The hilly 140km stage, started in Atherstone and passed notable landmarks, including Warwick Castle before finishing in Stratford upon Avon.
May
Aquathlon win
Helen took another win in the veteran category and finished 2nd overall at the Nuneaton Aquathlon. The race consisted of a 400 meter pool swim followed by a 5 km three lap run on a mixture of track, tarmac and grass. Helen has raced a number of aquathlons this year as an entry route back into multi-sport racing, before turning her attention to triathlons later in the season.
Cycling to fight cancer
Helen ticked of another achievement on the bike, cycling a challenging 150 miles in one day at the Cyclists Fighting Cancer sportive. This was the furthest Helen has ridden in a single day and marks another milestone for her. The route, which started in Stratford-upon-Avon and took in the Cotswolds, was tough, with a total ascent of 2429 meters. Cyclists Fighting Cancer enables children and young people living with cancer across the UK to regain their physical fitness, strength and confidence by giving them new bikes, adapted trikes, tandems, other equipment and support. For more info visit http://www.cyclistsfc.org.uk/
April
Aquathlon Series Win
Helen had a successful return to multi-sport racing winning the Tewkesbury Aquathlon Races Series in the vets category. The series rewards consistency over three races; and with two wins in the vets race Helen took the series win. The aquathlon series marked a return to multisport for Helen after a break last year to focus on the One Day Ahead cycle challenge. The result bodes well for the English Aquathlon Championships in June, where Helen will return to racing at the national level.
Spirit of Bromsgrove Awards
Helen was delighted to be one of only three athletes nominated and shortlisted for ‘Outstanding Sports Person’ in the Spirit of Bromsgrove Awards, in recognition of her participation in the One Day Ahead challenge. Helen had actually nominated team captain, and fellow Bromsgrove resident, Geoff Thomas for the award and was therefore delighted that he was given the accolade. Helen was honoured to pick up the award on Geoff’s behalf.
March
Sporting Hero Award
Helen was honoured to have been named the 2015 Sporting Hero in the Wychavon Community Recognition Awards. Announced at a glittering awards ceremony in Peopleton the award was made in recognition of her being part of the One Day Ahead team, which cycled the entire route of last year’s Tour de France one day ahead of the professionals to raise £1million for Cure Leukaemia. Helen was delighted to win the award, which in her acceptance speech she dedicated to the whole One Day Ahead team, Cure Leukaemia as well as staff at the Centre for Clinical Haematology at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.
February
Mont Ventoux Challenge
Helen is attempting to climb the legendary Mont Ventoux in France three times in one day, in an effort to raise money for Air Ambulance and is calling on other keen cyclists to join her. Helen will be taking part in the ‘Ultimate Ventoux Challenge’ on June 25th to raise money for Warwickshire & Northamptonshire Air Ambulance and its sister charity, the Children’s Air Ambulance. The 137k route includes over 4400 metres of climbing in notoriously unpredictable conditions, where temperatures can reach 40c and wind speeds of 200 mph have been recorded. Mont Ventoux, which is known as the Giant of Provence, is 1912 meters high, with long stretches of road in excess of 10-12% gradient. The mountain is part of this year’s Tour de France route but whereas the professionals will only climb it once, Helen will attempt to climb the mountain three times via three different routes. Success in the challenge will gain riders entry into the exclusive Club de Cingles du Mont Ventoux, which recognises the achievement of riders from around the globe who complete the challenge.

To find out more about Air Ambulance fundraising challenges visit https://theairambulanceservice.org.uk/fundraising/fundraising-challenges/
Local recognition
Helen is delighted to be one of only three people shortlisted for Wychavon Sporting Hero Award in the Wychavon Community Recognition Awards. The nomination is in recognition of her being part of the One Day Ahead team, which cycled the entire route of last year’s Tour de France one day ahead of the professionals to raise £1million for Cure Leukaemia. The winner will be announced on 15th March.
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Copyright Helen Russell 2017