TRIATHLON: MALPAS mum Jean Ashley confirmed her place as Britain's top woman veteran, but had to cross the world to do it.
The 45-year-old member of Chester Tri Club led her team mates home in her category in the formidable World Ironman Championships in Hawaii.
She crossed the line to complete the course in 12 hours 51 minutes and 21 seconds, placing her as 20th veteran in the world.
The event, comprising a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle ride and a 26.2-mile marathon run is the ultimate challenge for most triathletes.
Jean said: 'While I am no stranger to the shorter events, the Ironman required nine months of special training to get me in the right shape to do it justice.'
This meant cycling up to 20 hours a week in a regime that included long runs and swims as she built up the stamina that would see her through the challenge.
The event started with the ocean swim, which Jean completed in an impressive one hour 29 minutes.
'The swell made me feel sick and I saw my breakfast again at one point,' she said.
'All I could think of was hoping it didn't attract any sharks!'
Happily, Jean emerged from the water unscathed and transferred to her bicycle.
She was immediately aware of the heat - her bike computer showed 102 degrees as she sped through the lava fields, and at 75 miles the island's strong winds were in her face.
'It was like riding into a brick wall,' she said, 'but at each feeding station the volunteers were brilliant - like one big party - and this kept my spirits high.'
Jean was careful to take plenty of food and drink on board to fuel her through the mammoth ordeal.
This paid dividends as she completed the bike leg in seven hours and five minutes.
She went on to complete the marathon in four hours and four minutes, improving her placing in the field with every passing hour and recording the fastest run by a woman.