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Tour de Helvellyn

Tour de Helvellyn is a 38 mile ultra run deliberately set close to the shortest day of the year with many runners starting and/or finishing in the dark and battling against the winter weather as well as the course.

Starting in Askham there is a significant out and back element to Patterdale before circling Helvellyn via the passes to its North and South.

Paul and Russ ran together although at a somewhat subdued pace right from the start as Russ was suffering from a cold. Apart from Patterdale being flooded and somewhat strong winds on the higher ground, the weather held until the final leg back over from Patterdale in the dark. Here the heavens opened producing pretty damp and cold conditions. However, we looked after ourselves coming in under 11 hours. Most of those behind us needed warming up at the finish so a good day out even if a little slow.

Results - Tracking

Rodings Rally

This overnight Epping Forest event appears to be an annual fixture for Paul and Russ. Nearly always on the podium we have only once won the event and I guess we keep coming back to aim for that second elusive win. Unfortunately this year wasn't to be the one once again.

There was a noticeable change in the clue setting this year and we tripped up on the first (easy) one, losing an hour going to and hunting in the wrong area. With the win almost certainly out of reach we settled down for a steady fun evening. Besides there were a couple more clues we didn't solve for some time and it was by no means certain we would complete the course.

We also lost time on a second checkpoint taking bearings from the wrong fence so it really wasn't our night but a lucky guess and a eureka moment saw us solve all the clues finishing in just over 5 hours, over an hour behind the winners but pleased to hang on to third place. It was good to be challenged on the clues and we seemed to traverse some different parts of the forest than usual. I guess we'll be back next year!


Open 5 Innerleithen

Jeff competed at Innerleithen starting from Traquair as a solo taking 8th place on a course which included some of the forest single-track mountain biking as well as checkpoints on foot over 5 hours.

Results - Report

OMM Brecon Beacons - Podium place on the Long Score!

With Steve being injured, Jeff took his place to run with Ian on the OMM Long Score class in the Brecon Beacons. The weather set its normal OMM standards with strong winds and a lot of rain/hail.

They had an excellent run on day 1 placing 2nd overall. With bad weather forecast, shorter courses were implemented on the Sunday. In a very close competition they only managed 4th place on the Sunday. The combined scores from the two days however kept them in 3rd place on the podium, their best results yet!

Russ partnered Yvonne around the B course placing mid-field.

Long Score Results: Day 1, Day 2, Overall

Open 5 Ilkley

Jeff entered this Ilkley-based 5 hour foot and mountain bike event which used tracks and roads to the North of Ilkley, placing 6th in the male solos.


Rab Mountain Marathon

The Rab mountain marathon always has great courses and this year was no exception. Paul and Russ went as a pair on the long course.

It was hot on day 1 and they suffered along with everyone else. Day 2 was even tougher but at least cooler and they totally trashed themselves. Overall they were 16th but just eased into the super vets age class and won their class with some fabulous Rab prizes.


Jeff completes UTMB

Congratulations to Jeff on successfully qualifying and completing the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. This is a 168 km circuit with a lot of climb.

Jeff completed in a time of 35:46 in 388th place.


Saunders Lakeland Mountain Marathon

The Saunders is a great summer, relaxed mountain marathon that caters for solos and the usual pairs over a variety of classes. This year's event was held in the far South West of the Lake District.

Jeff and Paul were both competing in the solo klets class. Jeff placed 18th overall and Paul came in 32nd having greatly improved his navigation confidence.


Shires and Spires Ultra

Russ and Paul ran this 35 mile relatively flat, local Ultra in Northamptonshire. Paul was training with his usual heavy rucksac and predictably Russ started out too fast and suffered with the heat.

They finished in just under 6.5 hours on a lovely sunny June day
Report - Results

Open 5 Yorkshire Dales

Jeff placed 15th in the male solos in this 5 hour foot and mountain bike, 2012/13 series event based in Grassington.



European Rogaine Champs

Jeff and Tim travelled to La Lacuna in Spain for the 10th European Rogaine Championships. This 24 hour foot event demands endurance and good navigation against top competitors from across Europe. They had a fantastic run, finishing in 11th place overall, 9th in their class.


The Spine Race

Paul and Russ undertook this solo winter race along the full length of the Pennine Way with a 7 day limit. Conditions were pretty good for winter with snow underfoot for much of the route and not too much wet or windy weather until the final day blizzard.


As usual we worked well together as a pair with Russ navigating from the maps and Paul keeping an eye on the descriptions from the guide book and planning ahead for the stops. We were forced to stop overnight in Horton for Russ to overcome some hip discomfort which might have ended the race for him but a hot bath and a night's rest sorted it. We were soon into the routine of decent overnight sleeps, avoiding the noisy checkpoints as much as possible and then jogging at a good pace when moving. Jeff even joined us for a short evening stretch for some welcome change of conversation.

As we finally allowed ourselves to think about finishing it was clear that the weather was going to take a turn for the worse and pushed ahead to avoid the worst of it. Disaster struck North of Bellingham when in a coughing fit, something moved inside Russ giving him pain at every breath. We stuck with it, moving slowly, long enough to reach a forest track where vehicle access was possible. Very frustrating after 235 miles completed but there was no choice as it took several days for the pain to die down.

Paul continued on through the blizzard the next day to finish 4th of just 6 finishers within the time limit and one of only 3 who really stuck to the full Pennine Way route throughout. The race justifies it's tagline of Britain's most brutal race!

Results (kind of) - Tracking