Helen Russell

World Champion Quadrathlete and Duathlete


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Helen Russell - News

Double National SUP Titles for Russell
Helen is celebrating after taking two national Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) titles in only her second year of competing in the sport. Helen has won the GBSUP National Distance Race Series, defending the same title she won last year and has also been crowned GBSUP National Title Holder for the first time, in the Nisco fleet category.

The race series rewards consistency through the season, with competitors‘ top two results from three series races counting. The national championship race was over three races in one day: an 8km distance race, 3km technical race, which involves multiple turns around buoys and finally a 150m sprint race. Racing for Fladbury Paddle Club, Helen competes in the Nisco/Naish category, where competitors all race on the same make of inflatable board.

After a first and second place in the first two races of the Series, Helen was secured a podium place, but which one, would be decided at the final race in the series. The race took place at Bray Lake, Berkshire in September and was over 8km. Helen won the race and with that secured the National Series Title. The 8km race was also part of the National Championship competition, which saw Helen also finish first in the technical race and the 150m sprint and take the national title.
Coll de Rates Cycling Holidays Partnership
Helen is excited to be teaming up with Coll de Rates Cycling Holidays this winter. They are providing Helen with one of their Bianchi hire bikes during her winter training in the Costa Blanca. Coll de Rates Cycling Holidays offer bike hire, cycle friendly apartments and a range of cycle holiday packages to suit all cyclists&lsq needs. They are based at their service centre in Calpe, the preferred winter training destination of many of the pro teams. Their name comes from the infamous Coll de Rates, a climb which has featured on many editions of the Vuelta a España and which every cyclist should try at least once in their life!

Website: https://collderatescycling.com/
She Paddles
Helen‘s year as a British Canoeing ‘She Paddles‘ Ambassador is coming to an end as a new cohort of Ambassadors take over. Helen has organised a number of initiatives to get women paddling including taster sessions in Stand up Paddleboarding (SUP), kayaking and Canadian canoeing. Helen also helped to organise a Big Paddle Clean Up event in her hometown and also supported this year‘s Paddling with Pride at Birmingham Roundhouse. Helen will continue to work to get women paddling and wishes the new Ambassadors success in their role.
Big Paddle Clean Up
As part of Helen‘s year as a British Canoeing ‘She Paddles‘ Ambassador, she joined forces with Anti-Litter Evesham to organise a clean-up of a stretch of the River Avon as part of this year‘s national Big Paddle Clean Up.

The environmental enthusiasts walked and paddled from Crown Meadow, Evesham and headed along the River Avon to Hampton Ferry, collecting over 15 bags of litter along the way as part of British Canoeing‘s Big Paddle Clean Up, a fortnight of action to protect the places we love to paddle and walk from plastic pollution.

In a variety of craft including stand up paddleboards and kayaks, the volunteers removed sacks full of plastic pollution, with the usual suspects including plastic water bottles, drinks cans and fast-food packaging, along with some rather unusual items including part of a car roof rack and a VW car wheel. The volunteers were rewarded with refreshments at Hampton Ferry thanks to Raphael‘s Restaurant.

British Canoeing launched its Access and Environment Charter, Clear Access, Clear Waters, in 2018 championing the case for fair shared sustainable open access to inland waterways. As part of the Clear Access, Clear Waters campaign, British Canoeing is pledging to continue to protect and improve the health of our rivers, addressing plastic in our waterways and highlighting the positive impact accessing our waterways can have for the environment.
European Quadrathlon Champion
The European Middle Distance Quadrathlon Championships came to the UK at the end of May and Helen was crowned European champion! The race, which took place in Brigg, Lincolnshire, attracted athletes from Hungary, Belgium, Spain and the UK, all vying to be crowned European Champion over the middle-distance format of 1500m river swim, 7km kayak, 30km bike and 10km run.

First out of the swim leg was Grace Bird, who exited the River Ancholme just ahead of Helen. Once on the bike leg Helen started to wheel in Bird and overtook her after a few kilometres and went on to pull away and extend her lead over the rest of the field. Helen then went on to post the fastest female times in the bike, kayak and run legs to finish first woman overall, as well as in her age group (40-50). Behind her the battle was on for the other podium places with Gillian Melia finishing second and Liz Dawson taking the final podium spot.

This win adds to Helen‘s collection of international quadrathlon titles, having won her age group in the World Middle Distance Championships in 2019 and the World Sprint Championships in 2018.
GB SUP Series
Helen has secured a place on the podium in this year‘s GB SUP (Stand Up Paddleboarding) National Distance Race Series after finishing 2nd and 1st in the first two races of the season. The Series rewards consistency through the season, with competitors‘ two top scores from three series races counting.

Racing for Fladbury Paddle Club, Helen was competing in the N1sco1/Naish category, where competitors all race on the same make of inflatable board. The first race of the series was in Cardiff Bay at the start of May. The 14km race started at the International Water Sports Village in the Welsh capital, crossed the bay and then went up the River Taff before heading back to, and across the bay three more times, before heading to the finish line back at the watersports village. After the starting horn, Gemma Cone from Northern SUP took the lead and held onto it from start to finish, with Helen taking the runners up spot.

The second race in the series was in mid-May at Bewl Water in Kent. Conditions for the 12km, three lap race were extremely windy, which resulted in more DNFs in the women‘s inflatable categories than finishers! Helen however was determined to finish the race and was rewarded with top spot on the podium. With this win and her second-place finish at the first race of the series in Cardiff, Helen has secured a podium place in the GB SUP National Distance Series ranking. Which position she takes will depend on the results of final race of the season in September.
She Paddles
Helen is one of this year‘s British Canoeing She Paddles Ambassadors and to celebrate International Women‘s Day, she organised her first women‘s paddle session in March from Fladbury Paddle Club. Helen took out members of the local Labour Party women‘s group in some Canadian canoes to give them a taste of canoeing and for some it was their first ever experience of paddling. Helen will be organising further events throughout the year.
Housman Trail Ride
To mark LGBT History Month this February, Helen, in conjunction with the Bicycle Adventure Club led an AE Housman bike ride, which visited Bromsgrove landmarks connected with the Housman family. The ride visited Perry Hall, the Clock House, Valley House and the Housman statue before heading out into the rolling countryside around Feckenham and Hanbury where the riders paused with a view of Bredon Hill to listen to Housman‘s poem of the same name. Helen spoke at each of the stops about Alfred, Clemence and Laurence and their respective places in LGBT History as well as the suffragette and peace movements. A video of the ride highlights is available via the Bicycle Adventure Club YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0Z-0UmxN3M
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