Sarah McCormack Helm Wibnd Outdoor Skincare Ambassador


I have been running for as long as I can remember.

I grew up in a flat part of Michigan but my Mum’s from the Lake District and my Dad’s Irish so I always wanted to be over here in the lovely wild mountains. 

When I was growing up I played football and ran cross country and track but I never did any trail running as a youngster.
I didn’t start fell running until a bit later, when I was 22 year old student living in Sheffield UK, with the Peak District on my doorstep. Fell running in Sheffield was a bit different to running flat, straight roads in Michigan as the views were stunning, the trails were so much more interesting and the weather was a bit more extreme at times.

I was pretty intimidated by the idea of fell running at first because I thought you had to run every step of the uphills and when I found out that hiking is actually encouraged on the steep bits I felt a lot better!
For me running is about getting out and enjoying spending time in the outdoors.

In fell running there is much more of a skill element than with road running in terms of foot placement and assessing the landscape to find the quickest route. 

Even when I was quite new to the sport and struggled with the more technical terrain, I enjoyed how fell running felt much more like a game than just a run. I find off-road running a lot more engaging - and on a nice day the time just flies by.
In 2020, I probably had my best season so far, since I won three national titles in Italy in the October:

    • The long distance mountain running championships
    • The vertical kilometre championships
    • The course record at the mountain running relay championships

This was a huge unexpected result for a year that started off not only with the onset of the covid pandemic (and the cancellation of all races and group training) but also a very badly sprained ankle that took a few months to heal. For those months it was all about figuring out what my legs were happy to do - I spent a lot more time cycling and hiking, and finding very smooth flat trails to run on while my ankle healed.

"My results in Italy is confirmation that sometimes you just have to keep the faith that things will improve, even if you can only hobble along at a walking pace for a little while!"

Running is amazing, it’s great for my health, my connection with the outdoors and my two dogs Quilla and Lupo, who sometimes come training with me. Fell running also has a great community, out on the fells is where I have met some of my favourite people… bumping into Joss Naylor once on Sour Howes and happening across Beth Pascal running her amazing BG record on Steel Fell are two highlights!

"Despite all that I gain from fell running, aside from the occasional sprained ankle and cuts and grazes, fell running is hard on my skin. Like a lot of people in summer I get chafing and in winter the harsh mountain weather really dries my skin (my lips are usually pretty chapped as well)." 

I love the Facial Barrier Cream SPF 50 because it’s so thick and creamy, great for keeping my skin hydrated and protected the full day outdoors and much nicer to apply than typical suncream.  
The Chafe Stick is fantastic for summer runs, and I love how convenient it is for travelling with.  
I also love the Cleanse & Hydrate Balm because again it’s so good for travel, has a super lovely subtle scent and for me is much nicer to use than a typical liquid facewash. When we are camping in the van or on the go it’s such a simple and easy way to remove my makeup. It leaves the skin feeling conditioned as well as clean, compared to other washes that leave your skin feeling quite dehydrated.