This summer The Cure Parkinson’s Trust (CPT) supporter Helen Pike took on an incredible ‘Summer of Running’ challenge covering over 400 miles in a bid to raise awareness and funds for Parkinson’s research. Helen said:

 “Parkinson's has affected my family, including my lovely Mum over the decades and I wish to do everything I can to prevent this cruel disease continuing it’s devastation for future generations. As a seasoned marathoner/ultra-runner my fundraising was starting to lack the ‘WOW’ factor to entice support from family and friends. I decided I needed to go bigger, I needed a gimmick so this summer I took on a number of challenges: 7 races over 6 months, to raise awareness and funds for CPT. “

Helen’s inspiring ‘Summer of Running’ included some fantastic but challenging adventures and began on the 22nd April when she completed the Virgin Money London Marathon, achieving a personal best of 3:22:48 in the extreme summer heat!

Pictured above: Helen proudly sporting her London Marathon medal!

On the 12th May Helen went on to conquer the Dukeries 40 (Hobo Pace) challenge, a 40 mile totally vegan running event around the beautiful Sherwood Forest where she was the 2nd lady to cross the finish line achieving another personal best of 6 hours 35 minutes and coming 6th overall!

A week later Helen took part in the Cader Idris Mountain Race on the 19th May, one of the toughest fell races in Wales. Helen tackled up to 2927ft of ascent during the race which she described as “fantastic, fast and frenzied fun!”.

The 9th June saw Helen complete the incredible Convergence (Beyond Marathon), a 24 hour unsupported and self-navigated adventure to Hope in the Peak District from anywhere in the UK. Helen said:

“This race is all about the preparation. As a participant you have to decide how far you think you can travel in 24 hours then devise your route. Arrive 1 second late and you are disqualified! I ran 85 miles in total from Waseley Hills in South Birmingham to Hope travelling along off-road paths and canals and achieving the first ‘Solo Female Winner’ with 4 hours to spare.”

On the 27th July Helen went on to complete her longest distance run yet at the Kennet and Avon 145 mile Canal Race (KACR), which takes participants along a beautiful but tough route from Bristol to London. Helen said:

“For those willing to push their boundaries, there were both tears of joy and despair during this one. I was the 2nd lady to finish and came 7th overall in 33 hours and 30 minutes with blistered feet and a big smile on my face!”

Pictured above: Big smiles as Helen crosses the finish line at the KACR race

Helen took part in the Dig Deep Ultra Tour of the Peak District on 25th August, conquering the 60 miles of hills, hills and more hills! This tough race combines over 10,000ft of ascent with the reward of outstanding views at each climb. Helen said:

“Finishing 1st lady in 12 hours 48 minutes this felt really hard. It was hot, my legs and strength hadn’t fully recovered from the KACR and I felt sick and dizzy for most of the second half. However, with a dose of grit and a determination not to let my supporters down I was very relieved to finally reach the finish line.”

Helen’s final challenge was the National Forest Way Ultra 75 (Go-Ultra) taking place on the 8th September. This is a relatively new event consisting of 75 miles of tough terrain, significant climbs and many navigational challenges. Helen said:

“This race is much harder than it first appears. Looking at previous results I started to panic – only four participants finished in 2016 and five in 2017! I decided to do some last minute route recceing and queried a number of navigational points and cattle hotspots with the race director who put my mind at rest and implemented diversions where necessary. Finishing 1st Lady and 1st overall in 14 hours 45 minutes was a truly fantastic feeling and end to my ‘Summer of Running’ challenge!

Pictured above: Helen completes her incredible 'Summer of Running' at the National Forest Way Ultra!

I’d like to say a massive thank you to everyone especially my mum, who has supported me and CPT over the summer. Between us we have achieved great things and raised over £1,000 for Parkinson’s research. Now for a sit down and to plan my next adventure!”

CPT would like to thank Helen for all her support and truly magnificent fundraising efforts! To read more of Helen’s story or to support her fundraising please visit her fundraising page

If you feel inspired by Helen's story and would like to take on your own running challenge for CPT you can search the many fantastic running events taking place across the UK here. Alternatively please contact George or call 020 7487 3892 to discuss your fundraising ideas and find out how we can support you.