I am unbelievably excited to announce July’s Athlete of the Month – Helena Flippance! I've had the absolute pleasure of coaching Helena for 9 months now, over which time her dedication and hard work have been nothing short of inspiring.
Helena's journey began with a marathon personal best of 3:34, a fantastic accomplishment in its own right. However, this was just scratching the surface of her potential. Having qualified for Good for Age entry into the London Marathon we set some higher goals and started to build a long and hard block.
It wasn’t all smooth sailing as this marathon block was marked by multiple triumphs and challenges, including a period of battling shin splints. Yet, even in the face of adversity, Helena proved her resilience and determination by fully embracing cross-training and working tirelessly to keep her goal in sight.
My absolute favourite session with Helena has to be the long run we did on Portugal Training Camp. Picture this: a scorching 27-degree day, a seemingly endless 2km straight road, and yours truly, attempting to pace Helena through her 3 x 7km MP session. Little did Helena know; she not only had to tackle her own session but would also have to endure 3 hours of commentary from me! As we traced our tracks up and down the famous road in Monte Gordo, I made sure to offer my personal analysis of Helena's form, announce splits with all the enthusiasm of a sports commentator, and engage in some grade-A small talk that covered everything from the best post-race snacks to the wonders of sock technology. I couldn't believe how quickly those 30 kilometres disappeared, and how Helena had smashed through each block with such purpose and drive.
I couldn’t have been prouder when Helena breezed over the line in 3 hours and 18 minutes, which was an amazing result and nearly 16 minutes faster than her previous marathon. Bringing the distances down and increasing the intensity over the summer, Helena has broken the sub 20 minute 5km milestone not once, but twice, most recently crossing the finish line in an impressive 19:16! Helena has consistently demonstrated her commitment by being a core attendee at both the track and tempo team sessions. She is an invaluable member of our Best Athletics team, always bringing all the vibes to our team socials and training camps. Her positive attitude and genuine kindness add so much to our team, making her an absolute pleasure to have on board.
Next up, we’ve got even bigger goals for Valencia Marathon, where I can’t wait to see what Helena can do once again. Without a doubt, the commitment, effort, and unwavering dedication will always remain a constant.
I feel privileged to be Helena’s coach, you are so deserving of being July’s Athlete of the Month!