A North Lincolnshire athlete proved she belongs on the international stage, taking bronze at the European Duathlon Championships.
Ruth Wilson finished third in Alcobendas near Madrid, in the sprint distance race, improving on her 2014 performance by three places.
And the Wroot woman is now turning her focus to October’s World Championships, in Adelaide, South Australia.
Wilson, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, was recovering from an ankle injury ahead of the European event, and surpassed her own expectations.
“I was more prepared this time, my second time at the Europeans, but my preparations were still rushed after I tore two ligaments in my ankle,” she said.
“Last year I finished sixth, so I wanted to equal that or improve to fourth or fifth, so it was fantastic to take a medal.”
Wilson formed part of a Great Britain one-tw0-three finish in the ladies 45 to 49 years age group, behind winner Jacqui Phillips and silver medallist Nicola Kent.
Her time of 1:11:07 for the run-bike-run course and her placing in the results was proof of her progress, said Wilson.
“Anke Lakies from Germany beat me by three minutes last year, but this time she finished behind me in fourth.”
“Jacqui Phillips beat me by six minutes last year, and I’ve closed the gap to less than three minutes now.”
“Some of the ladies are awesome, but I’m proving I can pull them back.”
If Parkinson’s and an ankle injury weren’t enough to contend with, Wilson was up against tough conditions in Spain.
“On the day there was freak weather, the skies opened, there were gale force winds and people were coming off the course and going to hospital,” she said.
“It was the hardest course I’ve ever done.”
“But you don’t enter events like this and expect an easy time.”
“My condition wasn’t great either, but I’m keeping it under control. I tend to isolate myself before races because it gets worse with nerves – but it only makes me more determined.”
Wilson is now targetting her endurance and core through by going ‘back to basics’ in training, and eyeing the Epworth and Bassetlaw Triathlons, ahead of the big race of the year.
“It’s all about Australia this year, I’ve got to concentrate on that.”
“I’m going to sacrifice a few races to be fully prepared.”
She’ll head down under with plenty of confidence after her impressive European showing, something she adds wouldn’t have been possible had it not been for local support.
“I have to say thanks to North Lincolnshire Council who helped with funding for the trip.”