Tour de Helvellyn

Pour yourself a mulled wine and hold onto your Santa hats, you’re about to embark on this year’s most festive adventure- Nav4’s Tour de Helvellyn.

39 miles, +2000m elevation, self-nav, winter conditions, ho ho ho!

Let’s just say that I ran the majority of this race in a ski jacket and was glad of it! Not to be underestimated.

Really interesting race this one. You can start from Askham from 7am, the proper CP (10 miles away at Side Fm) opened at 9.30am. We set off at around 7.45am and got there for around 9.45am. The early stretch was great, lovely dry conditions but incredibly icy underfoot meaning concentration was required.

I was concentrating so hard, I noticed that someone had dropped an *unopened* packet of shot blocs…and in the interest of preserving the environment, and myself..I picked them up and saved them for later.

We’d maintained a good pace and we were feeling good at Side Farm so didn’t stay long as the first major climb loomed ahead, Sticks Pass.

As we tramped up the road from Glenridding it became clear that this was going to be no mean feat. The snow was fairly deep and the train of brightly coloured jackets streamed up and up. It was a one step at a time job and, we emerged to total whiteout. It was like landing on the moon, except my legs were so heavy, I might as well have been 10000 leagues under the sea.

At this point, my spirits were low and I’d been working through my supplies but fancied something different. I remembered the shot blocs and shoved a couple into my gob. At this point I was transported back to my student days, dizzy with an aftertaste of tequila… am I dying?? Checked the packet- Margarita flavour. What kind of a fractured mind buys these for an ultra!! Ed loved them but not for me…maybe that’s why we found them on the ground. Maybe it serves me right for eating stuff off the floor. In any case, if you happen to be reading this and I ate your horrendous shot blocs- I will send you another pack, along with a leaflet for counselling, I certainly need it after that experience.

We picked our way through the snow, flinching from the glare, it was a long section that seemed never ending. Gradually through the low cloud, a view began to appear and we wound our way down the incredibly slippy descent towards Thirlmere.

As we negotiated the tricky path, the most beautiful view I’ve ever seen opened up across the valley. No photograph will ever do it it justice. The low-hanging cloud created a wonderful light and ethereal quality.

The next big climb came after a steady section of forest trails. The rocky, slippery climb up a gully made for challenging work but it was soon over and we were then on our way back to Side Fm.

It was a welcome break and we were greeted by a plethora of sweet and savoury goodies. A hot coffee did the job and we were soon up and running, well, walking up the last major climb of Boredale Hause and the homeward straight back to Askham.

Feeling good, we kept up a good pace, making it back to Askham just as darkness fell. Incredibly pleased to be finished in 8.38.

I’ll say it again, this is not a race to be underestimated. We were incredibly fortunate with the weather and not running too much in the dark was a bonus. It was a huge sense of achievement to finish this race feeling good.

Aside from being an incredibly well organised event by the best in the business, the marshals and volunteers were superb and the food at the finish? ….worth the entry just for the soup and cake alone. If you’re up to it, this is a race that is not to be missed.


Silver Linings

We were supposed to be racing today but we turned the car around and drove home. It was too icy to risk getting stuck and with pupster Hadrian relying on us to be back in good time, we couldn’t bear the thought of being late home. So with heavy hearts, Santa hats and glow sticks, we headed back.

It’s been a fairly busy week for me anyway, lots of varied running, plus I’d already banked an easy 4 miles this morning on the stunning, aptly named Frostrow fells:

This little guy has also had a good week:

Luckily, Ed salvaged a disappointing evening by suggesting a night run at home up to the top of Winder, so that’s what we did. Santa hats and all.

One benefit of not racing was being able to crack a beer on the summit-

It was foggy but eerily still, so we were able to sit and chat for a bit, the beer added an extra layer of course! Under a murky sky we meandered our way down for mulled wine and mince pies.

And here’s the rest of the week in pictures:

Monday-Long Quaker

Wednesday- Knott:


Hoad Hill 10k

An uphill fell race up Winder got the legs and lungs burning…excellent preparation for today’s flat road 10k!

I took it easy and enjoyed the lack of pressure. The Glaxo Hoad Hill Harriers 10K is a PB course, attracting some real talent. It was out and back, taking in the various sights of Ulverston with Hoad Hill looming over the town in the distance as the home leg neared the end.

I was happy with 7th place and even happier to feel comfortable and relaxed for 43.13, must be getting fitter!

Very well organised, super marshals, over 300 finishers and Christmas Pudding for finishers. What’s not to like!?

Now the only task left is to catch up on the week. Too much to blog about- I’m out five times a week these days.

So little a game- the week’s highlights in pictures. The question is, morning, noon or evening????


I’m still finding my way around the Howgills. There is really so much to this place, it’s varied terrain is cross crossed with so many footpaths, ways, tracks and roads. The bouncy, pillowy, rolling hills trundle on and on, with Sedbergh nestled in the middle.

I enjoy looking at maps, knowing the names for things and getting a sense of place, but it does take time and I’m a long way off.

On this beautiful winter afternoon we set off to tackle a 9 mile loop. After lamenting our currently limited geographical knowledge, we reassured ourselves that we knew more than we thought, the following conversation ensued (if you’re not a fan of terrible and questionable puns, please leave this site now!!):

‘You know, this climb is really knocking the Winder out of me…’

‘You’re Knott wrong there but we’ve made a Dent in it now.’

‘That pun was criminal- you’re a Crook!’

‘I can’t think of any Morgan, I’m going Holme’

‘Good because you’re Boaring me now, Spouting all that rubbish’

‘You need to keep your (Nine) Standards up, these puns are making me Sickers’

The route? Well I’d have to double check the map!

I won an ultra! A Short Circuit

New edition on Trail Running Magazine- check me out!

And it was the very same Roclites that I was given as part of being in Team Committed Inov8 that steered me to a win at Punk Panther’s A Short Circuit Ultra (34 miles)

A real surprise for me considering that I’ve been focusing on shorter distances. I found it pretty easy and just seemed to get it right on the day by not pushing on too hard. It was a really enjoyable day out around Otley, the Chevin, Cow and Calf and the moors, Ed kept my spirits up and it was just one of those great days where everything goes right.

Punk Panther do lots of great events around the Otley area- well organised, friendly marshals and cracking food at the finish. Well worth a look!

Massive thank you also to Ed’s parents who put us up for the night, fed us and looked after our boisterous little new addition (and future running buddy)…Hadrian:

And in amongst puppy patrol and ultra marathons, I spent my time running around on the fells with work and Ed. Here’s a few pics of the past couple of week’s adventures:

Cautley Loop

An afternoon on Scout Scar:

Out and back to The Calf in the bitter cold today:

Couple of events coming up in December and some big challenges ahead. Right now though it’s time to put the fire on and enjoy a hot chocolate- I’m exhausted!

4th at Ennerdale 10K and a dog ate Ed’s hotdog 

An eventful race…well sort of.

Weather conditions meant that the original route had been changed to an out and back. The Friday night before I’d completed my first open water swim of a mile and boy did that not do me any favours!

Here’s a picture of me ready to go…with my wetsuit on backwards…as you do.

I wasn’t aiming for a result but in the back of my head I think I was kind of hoping to do well. This niggling hope drove me to set off fast- too fast. After around a mile, my legs felt like lead and it became increasingly difficult to maintain a decent pace. 

At around half way, I accepted that I was going to be lucky to maintain 4th, I steadily gained on 3rd but I just didn’t have the legs.

I checked my garmin and it was 7.5 miles…felt like it as well.

Then Ed finished the 25K and was fuming as he’d added on an extra .5 of a mile by going the wrong way (his own fault!). Prize giving was to take place in 5 mins (4th place  prize… I’ll take it!) frustratingly he misses it after going to the car to get warm clothes, meanwhile I’m going to collect my prize whilst guarding his hotdog. He returns to find it all over, I insist on a picture with the banner, we turn around to find that his hotdog had been snaffled by a hungry hound. The frantic feeling of that description does it all justice.

It was a bad do for him all round. The loss of the hot dog proved to be one step too far (after his unfortunate diversion as well!) and copious amounts of sulking ensued.

Still, great place for a race. Super facilities and setting. Would recommend the hotdogs but well…the dog seemed to love it anyway 😉

3rd at Richmond Castle 10K, Go-Karting and a Duathlon

After a lighter running week full of social activities, I wasn’t feeling the sportiest that I’d ever felt but that was about to change!

After a late night at the ball on Saturday it was time for us to get our race faces on. Just to prove I’m not always in neon running kit 🤣:

Richmond Castle 10K was a great opportunity to blow away the cobwebs before a spot of go-karting later in the evening. 

The start was in a park and I regretted my choice of footwear as we set off. I wasn’t expecting anything in terms of results, in fact, Ed had said not to worry about placing as the standard was going to be too high. This was just a chill then, a chance to sit back and enjoy without the pressure.

The start of the race was an uphill grind and as I plugged away, I was really struggling. Luckily a downhill meant that I could equalise a bit and the miles seemed to tick by pretty quickly. It wasn’t until I’d passed through half way (near Catterick Garrison) that I heard the chilling news from a marshal ‘Well done 3rd Lady!’

I was absolutely shook…suddenly the pressure was on and everything changed. My chilled attitude turned to panic- can I maintain this position until the end??

It was a real struggle and by 8k the wheels were falling off and the hills were getting steeper. Luckily a fellow runner shouted encouragement and literally paced me to the finish, giving up a faster time to get me to the end. It was just an amazing thing to do and I would not have finished 3rd without his help- what a hero!

It was a really well organised, scenic event with excellent marshals and a really positive atmosphere- 100% recommend if you’re looking for a hilly road 10k

Then came the real result: my second 3rd place of the day-

The following week, I ran one leg of a duathlon as part of 🐢🐢🐢Team at Helwith Bridge….we finished as first team!