Hampshire & Isle of Wight

New Forest triathlete grandmother wins gold

A New Forest grandmother who overcame breast cancer has won a gold at the European Sprint Triathlon Championships in Spain.

Barbara Walton, 61, from Exbury won in the age 60 to 64 group after completing the swim, cycle and sprint course in 86 minutes and 55 seconds.

"I'm over the moon," she said.

"It just means everything, you work so hard and you just want to go for it."

Currently number one in Great Britain and number three in the world for her age group, Mrs Walton was inspired to become healthier after overcoming breast cancer 14 years ago.

"Your life starts again after that," she said. "If I hadn't had breast cancer I don't know whether I'd be doing this.

Image caption Barbara Walton is the GB number one triathlete in the 60 to 64 age group

She added: "My parents died before they saw my children and I just wanted to make sure I was here for my grandchildren."

Inspired by her son and daughter who are former triathletes, Mrs Walton started training four years ago and ran the London Marathon in 2007 and 2008.

"I never got on a bike until then," said Mrs Walton, who trains six or seven days a week.

The championships in Pontevedra, north-west Spain, involved a 750m lake swim followed by a 20km cycle race and then a 5km run through the streets of the city.

She will next be competing in the European Triathlon Championships 2012 in Israel.

"Every day is a new challenge," she said. "You just want to get as much out of it as you can."

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