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28th May, 2022

PADDLE BOARDING - Evesham's Helen Russell back on the podium in Cardiff

EVESHAM athlete Helen Russell was back on the podium in the British Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) Series race after a two-year break from racing due to the pandemic.

In what was Russell’s first SUP race, having only taken up the sport in 2020, she secured second place in a time of 1 hour 26 minutes and 24 seconds racing for Fladbury Paddle Club in Cardiff Bay.

And Russell was competing in the N1sco1/Naish category where athletes all race on the same make of inflatable board.

Russell said: “I can’t quite believe that I came second in my first ever SUP race.

“I had never paddled 10km before and came here just hoping to stay up-right, finish and see how I did against the rest of the field!

“I wasn’t planning to do anymore SUP races this year but with this result I now plan to do another race in the GB Series to try and get a national series ranking.”

And the race was the first in the GB SUP Series which brings together the best SUP racers from around the country.

The 10km race started at the International Water Sports Village in the Welsh capital, crossed the bay and then went up the River Taff before heading back to, and across the bay, up the River Ely and finally to the finish line back at the watersports village.

After the starting horn, Kerry Baker from Island SUP, who has been racing since 2014, led from start to finish, crossing the line in a time of 1.25.06.

However, there was a close contest for the other two podium places behind Baker as a three-way battle across the bay ensued between Russell, Gemma Cone from Northern SUP Race Team and Kirsty Lynas from Southampton SUP Club.

And it was Russell who settled into second place on the Taff, with Cone staying in touching distance behind her.

Russell created a gap between her and Cone in the return leg across the bay and held onto it to take the silver medal finishing in 1.26.24.

Cone took the third podium place in 1.27.01 and Lynas finished in fourth place in 1.27.21.

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