A FORMER Lakes School classroom assistant and keen fell-runner has completed a 100km ski race in the Arctic - despite sustaining a traumatic brain injury that left her in a coma for four weeks. 

Hilde Krijnen, 58, completed the Arctic Circle Race in Sisimiut, in the west of Greenland, with her husband Lawrence Mannion, 61.

The couple raced separately and had to spend two nights in a tented camp with temperatures dropping to minus 20 degrees Celsius. 

Dutch-born Hilde moved to the UK in 1992 to do her Master's at Lancaster University. She then taught at Witherslack School and was later a classroom assistant at The Lakes School and Vicarage Park School in Windermere. They both now live in Swaledale but maintain strong links to the Lake District. 

The Mail: Hilde mid-race Hilde mid-race (Image: Arctic Circle Race (Aqqalu Augustussen))

She was heavily involved in the Lake District fell-running community from the late 1990s. Hilde completed The Bob Graham Round in 1999 and was the first lady in the Borrowdale fell race a few years later. 

However disaster struck in 2008. Hilde and Lawrence were working on a construction project in Spain when her JCB fell off the side of a track and rolled over several times. She was in a coma for four weeks, lost use of one eye and had to relearn how to walk. Lawrence said she had the body of a '90 year old woman' after the incident and that it gave her brain 'executive function issues' which affect her memory. 

Hilde's love for the outdoors was not tempered by the accident though and she spent years working her way back to physical fitness. 

Lawrence said of the race: "It's a very tough route, a lot of ascent and descent." The couple had to complete around 34-35km a day. 

"Far more climbing is involved than in just about another other such race there is," he said.

In terms of the future, Lawrence said that Hilde wants to do more races and sport. 

"In Hilde's case it shows what's possible. Her passion for the outdoors is as great as it was before," he said.