Why speedy Helen is toast of Chichester Runners

Chichester’s top female veteran athlete of 2021, Helen Dean, has been setting new standards of excellence over the past two months.

Helen Dean is in flying form / Picture: Kate Shemilt
Helen Dean is in flying form / Picture: Kate Shemilt

It is a few years since Dean first came to prominence by earning an England vest in the over-60 age group thanks to her fine run in the Chichester Priory 10K at Goodwood.

Now in the over-65 bracket, the Chichester Runners ace has been setting new personal bests with no fewer than three coming in the past eight weeks.

At Worthing she showed new-found speed with a 43min 31sec clocking over 10k which was good enough for a top three placing in the UK for 2021 and 11th on the UK all-time list.

A week later Dean recorded 73.51 in the ten-mile Great South Run at Portsmouth. At the time it was the top UK mark of 2021 but it has since has been bettered by one other runner. To show how far this pair are ahead of the rest, there is a massive gap of three minutes to the next best runner in the age group.

To cap a fantastic 2021, Dean lined up with 600 other runners on a cold windy day last Sunday for the Victory 5 mile event, also in Portsmouth.

The race is not known for fast times on its relatively new twisty, Lakeside course, but Dean ran under 35 minutes for the first time with a 34.54 clocking to be second fastest in the UK this year – only the fourth over-65 ever to have dipped under the 35 minute barrier.

Dean is proving to be an inspiration to not only Chichester’s senior and veteran athletes but also to her junior coaching group.