Helvellyn Triathlon



One of the toughest triathlons in the world 

 •Swim in crystal clear Ullswater 

•Cycle includes the infamous "Struggle" to the top of the Kirkstone Pass (1489ft) 

•Run up and down Hellvellyn (3118ft)

The Route


Swim Course 1 lap 1 mile  There will be 3 swim waves based on declared swim time given on your entry form.

There are some challenging climbs the most notable being the 2.5 mile climb to the top of the Kirkstone Pass from Ambleside culminating in “The Struggle”. All roads will all be open to other traffic, with the exception of the Kirkstone Road (the Struggle),    The descent of the Kirkstone Pass starts almost immediately you get onto the A592. It is steep and very twisty. There are Lakeland granite dry stonewalls either side. This is a long race. You may save a second or two by stretching your bike handling abilities to the limit, but you will be taking a massive risk. Don’t do it.

Run 9 miles Fell  Although this is a fell run it takes place under British Triathlon rules which requires all competitors to cover the same route  The National Park also insist that we stick to the main paths.

Training Plans


This race is somewhat different to the normal run of the mill triathlon and will require a little more thought and preparation than many races. This is particularly relevant if you are not used to the narrow and twisty nature of Lakeland roads and are not used to running in the environmentally very sensitive fells of this area.  The cycle route is long and hilly, but it is relatively straightforward. The run is a mix of track, fell and road. 


Where, when and how much


Lake District

Annual in September     

£67-BTF Licence Holder  

£72- Non BTF Licence Holder

Equipment Used


THIS IS FAR FROM AN ORDINARY TRIATHLON RUN ROUTE. The run bag has not been included as some form of handicap, two people died in one week in separate incidents on Helvellyn in 2008 The temperature on the top could well be close to freezing and it will probably be in cloud and raining. If you break your ankle in those conditions you will very quickly become dangerously cold as well as suffering natural shock reaction. You need something that has the capability of keeping you reasonably warm in such an eventuality. You must decide what.  The run section is 90% on rough track and goes onto the highest fells in the country. Fell running shoes are recommended. For reasons of safety you must take with you on the run some form of bag containing full body cover, foil survival blanket, whistle and suitable map of the route. There are no feed stations on the run so you must also take sufficient food and hydration with you. You must satify yourself that the map you take on the run is suitable to navigate the route by. Maps will  be available to buy at registration £1.  Hydration There are no drinks stations on the run route, you will need something to drink, this must also be carried by you on the run. I strongly suggest you take two drinks bottles on the bike and make sure you drink them both before arriving at T2. Perhaps leave a bottle at your transition spot so that you set off on the run fully hydrated.

Top Tips


It will massively assist you if you study the course on a good map beforehand, OS Outdoor Leisure 5 is ideal; the map on the website is intended only as an indication and is not sufficient to navigate by effectively, you will also need a map to take with you in the race.

RACE THE SUN- Lake district

Overview- see full review above


Race the Sun is a hugely popular team challenge set in the stunning Lake District. Teams of four are challenged to cycle 50 miles, climb Helvellyn and canoe Lake Thirlmere. 2018 was the fifteenth year of this exciting triathlon-style adventure challenge. Set off cycling at sunrise into this stunning landscape and your sense of awe is only going up as you then begin the summit of Helvellyn with a vertical height gain of over 2,500 ft. As you climb, you begin to feel the challenge's rewards with spectacular views of hills rolling over the horizon and the mountain lakes below. But what goes up must come back down - the descent gives you a well-earned breather before we jump back on our bikes and set off for the shores of Lake Thirlmere to tackle a 3 km canoe course. The home straight is a cycling section to the finish line at Penrith, but can you race the sun and get there before the sun sets.

Where, When and How much?


Cycling, climbing and canoeing starting just before sunrise and aiming to finish before sunset  racing the sun!

Cycle approximately 50 miles (80km), hike to the summit of England's second highest mountain Helvellyn at 3,116ft (950m) and canoe a 3km course on Lake Thirlmere.

Annual In September . Lake District.

Team challenge, Registration fee £195 and minimum sponsorship target of £1800.

All funds raised by the challenge will support the work of children's charity Action Medical Research.

Training Plans


Race the Sun Lake District is an exciting action event. It is achievable by people with a reasonable level of fitness, who are prepared to put in plenty of training beforehand. The more you train, the more you will enjoy the challenge. It is a great incentive to train and get fit for, whilst at the same time knowing you are raising funds for an excellent cause.

Biking element is all on road.  No canoe experience is needed.




Will need an over night stay if not local as compulsory safety briefing and registration is the night before.

Equipment Used


It is essential that you come prepared with the correct equipment for the challenge. A cycling helmet is essential and we insist that you have walking boots or fell running shoes for the hiking element of the challenge. You must also have a map, compass and appropriate waterproof clothing.

Lots of layers and snacks to keep you going.