04:33AM, Thursday 25 October 2012
A triathlete has romped home to an impressive finish at this year's World Ironman Championships just a year after taking part in her first major event.
Claire Donald, who organises Maidenhead Half Marathon with the Purple Patch Running company she co-owns, was the fastest British woman in the 50-54 age group for the event in Hawaii.
The extreme challenge requires entrants to swim 2.4 miles in open sea, cycle 112 miles and run a full marathon and draws professionals from around the world.
Claire, who finished 19th overall in her age group, completed the grueling race in 12 hours and 12 minutes despite only starting to compete in Ironman triathlons in September last year.
The 53-year-old is an accomplished marathon runner but decided to enter Ironman Wales in Tenby last year 'for a change' and managed to qualify for this year's Hawaii event on October 13.
What followed was a year of intense training, with Claire, who recently moved to High Wycombe from Marlow, taking on a coach and dedicating between 18 and 20 hours a week to get in shape.
The event was among the mother-of-two's toughest ever challenges, with conditions in the town of Kailua-Kona unlike anything she has ever faced before.
She said: "It is so difficult to get used to the heat and humidity.
"I had a little mantra I was repeating to myself that pain is temporary, pride is forever."
Maidenhead resident Simon Bowler also took part in the competition. Click here to read his account of his experiences.
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