Blog: Beautiful views, warm water and three personal bests at Helvellyn Triathlon

Age-group winner Thomas Phillips shares his experience from racing in the beautiful Lake District for the tenth time last weekend

Helvellyn Tri, photo: Andy Ley

My minor (?) addiction to triathlon started with Helvellyn Triathlon 11 years ago, and this year was my tenth go at it.


The swim was a joy with the early mist clearing to leave perfect conditions. The lake was by far the warmest I have swum in, and I completed this section in 29:59mins.

The bike is always fun with its mixture of challenging climbs and fast descents. Dry roads and zero wind made it good going, with a bonus of two Lancaster bombers flying past at Thirlmere.

I completed the bike in 1:51:34 and the sixth fastest ride of the day at a shade over 32kph average speed.

The run is tough. Too steep to run up the big climbs, then the main descent is hard — also too steep to let rip but not steep enough to be a ‘proper’ fell runners’ descent.

The run course has stunning views in all directions. My legs gave me grief though, cramps in the quads going up and calves coming down was a new and unpleasant experience for me. Perhaps just the pace I was trying to hold?

To add to this, I got a stitch on the final descent (wasn’t I suffering enough?), but managed to finish the run in 1:40:45.

Overall time: 4:05:36. I realised my ambition of winning the V50 category (by a slim 45 seconds!) and a got personal best in all three disciplines. There was amazing support all the way around (especially if you are a member of COLT tri club), that really is appreciated and spurs you on.


Were you racing in Helvellyn? How did you get on? Let us know in the comments below!