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Wycombe woman wins Pacific triathlon
CLAIRE Donald put the fear of sharks to the back of her mind to finish as the first Britton home in her age-group at the 2012 World Ironman Championships in Hawaii.
The High Wycombe 53-year-old was up against more than 2,000 rivals from around the world, but she powered through the gruelling 2.6-mile swim, 112-mile cycle and 26.2-mile run to finish 19th overall in the F50-F54 category and record her ‘biggest achievement’.
She said: “I was full-on training for about eight or nine months for Kona; 25 hours a week, twice a day, sometimes three times a day.
“My strength is my running because that’s my background. I only really took up triathlon last year just to do the Ironman, and it’s just so different. It hurts more.
“It was baking hot out in Hawaii and we had really bad wind – that was tough on the bike.
“But to get to Kona and complete that course was my biggest achievement.”
However, the grandmother of two had to overcome some genuine fears to take the victory – the waters of the Pacific are alive with sealife, and not all of it is friendly.
She said: “I was slightly worried about sharks, and I know they sometimes have jellyfish, but you put that to the back of your mind when you’re in the race.
“There was a giant turtle swimming underneath me about a foot away at one point.”
This was only Donald’s second ironman competition. Her first was the qualifying race in Wales last year.