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Helvellyn Triathlon

Sunday September 11 | Glenridding, Nr Penrith

Helvellyn Triathlon

This is no ordinary triathlon and you are required to bring and race with extra items of equipment. Please read the instructions carefully. View the video for a flavour of what to expect on the bike. This is a race you will never forget, and in a good way.

  • One of the toughest triathlons in the world
  • Swim in crystal clear Ullswater, always refreshing
  • Cycle includes the infamous “Struggle” to the top of the Kirkstone Pass (1489ft)
  • Run up and down Hellvellyn (3118ft)

Jenkins Field, Glenridding, Nr Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 0PB

Follow the directions for Ullswater Steamers, turn left after the Glenridding Hotel and the field is on your right. We will be based in the big white marquee. There is very limited parking here. If you park on the steamer car park or anywhere else in Glenridding you will likely have to pay.

Car parking is at the King George V Playing Fields (Sunday only) what3words///lists.pizza.harnessed///.  It will be signed, but follow the main road out of Glenridding towards Patterdale, the car park is just along the first lane on the right. There will be a charge of £5 per car all of which goes to the playing fields charity fund. There is definitely no car parking at the venue. Please do not park in the Pier car park or in the car park in Glenridding. We will fill these up very quickly for the entire day and upset everyone. It will also cost more. There is definitely no car parking at the Glenridding Hotel for our purposes, it is strictly reserved for residents. Please observe this.

It is a 10 minute walk from the car park to race registration and transition area.

The pavilion is being modified and therefore there are no toilet facilities there. There are toilets on the event site and in the centre of Glenridding village. Apparently some people were very inappropriate in the car park last year and understandably upset the sports club. Plan ahead….

Saturday 10th September

  • 1500 – 1845 – Race registration in the marquee next to transition on Jenkins Field. No vehicles permitted on the field. Bikes are not racked until Sunday. You are permitted swim in the lake but it is entirely at your own risk. If it is not possible to register on Saturday then please arrive early for Sunday registration.

Sunday 11 the September

  • 0700 – 0800 – Registration for those that couldn’t make it on Saturday.
  • 0700 – Transition area opens
  • 0800 – Transition area closes
  • 0815 – Safety Brief. Next to Transition
  • 0830 – Wave 1 start. Subsequent wave starts will be dependant on numbers.
  • 1330 – Cut-off for leaving T2
  • 1500 – Cut-off Red Tarn. There is a lower safe route back to the finish.


Will be in the marquee on the triathlon field Saturday between 3pm-6.45pm. If you paid the lower BTF members entry fee you must produce your current BTF race licence, this must be the actual license or the official BT electronic version on your phone. If you don’t have it with you then you will need to pay an extra £5 for a day licence. This is for insurance purposes, so no arguments on this please.  You will receive  bike number, bib numbers, timing chip and strap.

Please check that you have been given the correct timing chip – it should have the same number on it as your race number.


You will be issued with 2 bib numbers. One number is to be displayed to the front for the run and the other to the rear for the cycle section. You can use race belts but please ensure your number is clearly displayed as above. Do not pin the middle of your number to the belt as it will fold in half and be impossible to read. Race number needs to be visible for the benefit of race officials and time keepers. Please write your emergency contact details on the back of your race number. If you have any medical that you feel may be relevant please also write this on the back of your race number.

Timing Chip

You will be given a timing chip and neoprene ankle strap. Please immediately attach the chip to the strap. If you find that you have to force it on you are doing it incorrectly, please ask rather than damage the strap. Put it on as soon as you are issued with it at registration. If you leave it in your car, house, kit bag, you won’t get a time. Top Tip ~ If possible wear the timing chip under your wetsuit, there should then be no way that it can come off during the swim or when taking your wetsuit off.

Please avoid crossing the timing mats once the race has started other than to record your time. Your chip will be removed very shortly after crossing the finish line, however should you manage to escape from the finish corral before your chip is removed avoid crossing any of the timing mats. THERE WILL BE A £10 FEE FOR LOST OR NON-RETUNED CHIPS

British Triathlon Day Membership

If you are not a current British Triathlon Race License holder you should have paid an additional £5 for BT day membership when entered the race . This is an electronic version of the day_membership. We will have this recorded on the registration sheets and you do not need to print it and bring it with you..If you did not pay the additional £5 and you do not have a race licence then you will have to pay the additional £5 at registration.

The transition area is for competitors and officials only. Space is limited please only bring what is essential for the race into the transition area. MP3 players and similar devices are not allowed to be used in the transition area and this includes prior to, during and after the race. Infringements will incur a penalty.

Please ensure your bike is racked correctly. Ask an official if unsure.

There are no bag drop facilities, please avoid bringing large bags or boxes with you. Any bag other than your required run bag should be preferably be left with someone accompanying you or at the perimeter of the transition area.

There are very many places to stay in the Lake District. Gillside Camping is the nearest camp site, but there are others not far away. A quick Google search will give far more detail than I can give here. Glenridding and Patterdale have a lot of B&Bs. Keswick and Ambleside are both about 20 minutes drive away and have many more B&B and other accommodations. Penrith is about 30 mins drive.

Kit List for run section. 

This is far from an ordinary triathlon run route. The run bag has not been included as some form of handicap. Over the years many people have died on Helvellyn and it is often because they are ill prepared. The temperature on the top could well be close to freezing, it is often 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 (windproof jacket and trousers), 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.


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 another bottle to dink at your transition spot so that you set off on the run fully hydrated.

Rear Bike Light   

The top part of the the Kirkstone Pass is often in cloud. A working rear bike light is compulsory. It is good practice in any race and demonstrates a degree of responsibility to other road users.

There will be portable toilets in the triathlon field as well as the main public toilets just over the road. There are further toilets in the main car park in Glenridding about 2 minutes walk away. Please do not use the Pier Café or Glenridding Hotel toilets prior to the race start.

Plan ahead, you won’t be the only person wanting to use the toilet 5 minutes before the start.

There are no changing facilities or showers.


Choose your route carefully. The distance and elevation should give you some indication as to how easy/hard each route is. Please view the GPX files and for further route details below in the Routes section.


Choose your route carefully. The distance and elevation should give you some indication as to how easy/hard each route is. Please view the GPX files and for further route details below in the Routes section.

Swim Course

The swim course may change dependent on waves required. The general plan is for 2 laps ‘Aussie Style’ That means exiting the water at the end of the first lap running around a point before re-entering the lake for the second lap.

Wetsuits are compulsory if the water temperature is under 14C, optional if between 14C-21C and banned if over 21C (don’t worry too much about the last possibility)

Cycle Route – 59km

The cycle route is 1 lap of 59k. All the roads are open to other traffic. The climb from Ambleside is notionally closed, but residents and others have access so assume there will be traffic. It is your responsibility to negotiate the course safely within all the usual rules of the road. Marshals are there to indicate the route only, they cannot stop traffic.

Regrettably we have had a number of crashes in recent years particularly on the descent of the Kirkstone Pass, they have all been rider error. Ride within your limits.

Riding with GPS from where you can download GPX file

Run Route – 15km

Mainly off-road on fell trails. Fell running shoes recommended. Don’t be tempted to save time in transition by not putting socks on. The final 200m to the top are a hands-on scramble.

You must take your run bag with specified kit, food and drink.

Riding with GPS from where you can download GPX file

Live Briefing Notes

Latest Updates

All competitors are required to check regularly for updates relating to this event

What you get