Following the news that top British triathletes Lucy Gossage and Joe Skipper will be racing at the Helvellyn Triathlon, it’s now been confirmed that Alistair Brownlee will return to the scene where he broke the course record in 2007.
In a further boost to the event, the Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) has announced that it’ll provide a $15,000 (around £11,300) professional prize purse at the event on 6 September (something the PTO have already done at Challenge Davos).
The Helvellyn Triathlon has long been one of the UK’s toughest triathlons and commences with a bracing 1.6km swim in the waters of Lake Ullswater. It’s on the bike where the suffering truly kicks in, with the 61km route including the ‘Struggle’, a 450m climb of the Kirkstone Pass, before a 14.5km on the fells of Mt. Helvellyn.
PTO Board Member and double Olympic champ Alistair Brownlee (pictured above: Getty Images), who clocked a record 3:28:14 finish at Helvellyn in 2007 (UK athlete Martin Cain would go 24secs better in 2011), stated, “With travel restrictions in place, the small number of races available are mostly regional events. It’s a tribute to the PTO’s mission for supporting athletes and the triathlon community that PTO Professionals in different regions have been able to come together to work with local organisers.
“We’re very grateful to the UK PTO Professionals who have worked with Race Director Rob Wilkins and his Helvellyn Triathlon team to support the Helvellyn event and are pleased that there are other groups of PTO Professionals in regions like Canada and elsewhere doing the same. While we all enjoy the big international events hosted by multinational race operators, we always remember that it is the grassroot organisers who are the life blood of our sport.”
The PTO has worked with the Helvellyn Triathlon team and has calculated that the difference in the Helvellyn course’s Ideal Time between men and women is 28:03. The race will be structured so that the top women’s wave will set off 28:03 ahead of the top men’s wave, and then professional athletes will be awarded places and prize money based on crossing the finish line, regardless of gender.
The $15,000 prize purse will find the winner picking up $3,000, second $2,250 and third $1,750. Prize money will go down to 10th place, with $500 awarded for finishing 7-10th.
In addition, since the Helvellyn Triathlon regularly attracts some of the best age-groupers around, the PTO and the Helvellyn Triathlon team are designating the race as an “Open” Championship. Any Age Grouper who has in 2019 completed any middle- or long-distance race achieving a time within 7% of the Ideal Professional Time for that race, will be eligible to be part of the elite wave and compete with the professional field. Any Age Grouper interested in determining their qualification for the professional wave, can submit their information to email@example.com
Rob Wilkins, Race Director of the Helvellyn Triathlon, commented, “As a result of the pandemic we had to cancel a number of our races, so when Alistair Brownlee and Joe Skipper contacted us to see if there was a way for PTO Professionals to help and be part of the Helvellyn Triathlon event, we thought it would a great opportunity to support the UK triathlon community. We are excited by the unique format and it will be great to see the professionals and Age Groupers enjoy the beauty and ruggedness of Helvellyn together.”
There are still places available for the Helvellyn Triathlon at www.trihard.co.uk/events/helvellyn-triathlon/