Helen Ambrosen in the Lakeland Trails Half Marathon

Whilst on a break in the Lake District, Helen Ambrosen decided to try her hand at the Lakeland Trails Half Marathon

What sounds better than a nice relaxing June break in the Lake District? How about a nice relaxing break in the Lake District with a really hard half marathon stuck in the middle of it?… That was what Helen Ambrosen decided on anyway, although in all fairness, a trail race around Lake Coniston did seem appealing at first glance. When she looked into it in a little more detail and it began to dawn on her what she’d let herself in for, it became a matter of “why am I doing this on holiday?”

Described as a course ‘around’ Lake Coniston, when she went to registration to pick up her number and looked at the profile of the course, it was nearly 10 miles of climbing, followed by two miles of descent and a flat mile to finish.

It was a course for specialists really, up and around the beautiful Tarn Howes which is a lake up in the Lakeland Hills. The descent down from this area and the last mile were the only bits that were around Lake Coniston.

Helen Ambrosen in action at the Lakeland Trails Half Marathon

It was a very tough, hilly route for Helen to take on

Signing up for the actual Half Marathon race, there was also a Half Marathon Challenge that Helen could have entered. Looking at the people in that in comparison to the runners lining up for the actual race, she was beginning to think she was in the wrong event!

Setting off at the back of the field, Helen’s main target was just to finish the run. It was a very hot day at nearly 30 degrees with bright sunshine. The race didn’t start till 11am so the temperature had climbed even further by then.

Helen doesn’t really like running in the heat but she was wearing a sun visor and planned to drink well to keep hydrated on the way round. The course was incredibly rough and stony with steep hills so the actual trail around Tarn Howes which was on compact gravel was a welcome change.

Helen Ambrosen making her way round the Lakeland Trails Half Marathon

Helen showed great determination and tenacity to make it round

Helen walked where she had to and at one point she very nearly took a tumble and could easily have taken another lady down with her. Fortunately she just managed to stay upright.

Running strongly when she could, Helen loved the two mile descent. Reaching the end of her energy reserves on the last mile, she went past a lovely café where people were enjoying ice cream.

Completing the course in 2 hours 44 minutes and 37 seconds, Helen had certainly earned her event t-shirt for this one. Serena Walker of Wigan Harriers got round in 1:51:38 to finish as first female and she that put her 8th overall. She was close to an hour ahead of Helen which was really quite incredible.

Jordan Scott of Morpeth Harriers was the overall winner, clocking a time of 1:28:49 which put him five minutes ahead of Gareth Raven of Sales Harriers who was his nearest rival.

A scenic view from the Lakeland Trails

The views in at the Lakeland Trails were breath-taking at times

Helen was just pleased to have finished it though in all honesty. It had been a real challenge but she showed great character to get the job done. She would highly recommend the event if anyone fancies it. It was very well organised and the support out on the course was great. Plus there was plenty of water and flapjacks to go round.

Helen is just enjoying not having the stresses and strains of racing at the moment, especially in this heat. She hopes to get going again when it cools down a bit.