My guide Hannah Bedford and I traveled to Ireland for the European Championships. The paratriathlon was the first race on Saturday morning. The weather was mild and cloudy.
The swim was a loop in the Shannon, which is apparently the magic river. After a warm up all the paratriathletes lined up on the pontoon and were presented individually. The swim was pretty straight forward and about fifteen minutes later we were making the long run to transition in second place behind fellow GB athletes Sara and Kylee, who are amazing swimmers, but crucially ahead of the Dutch girls.
The bike was an out and back course with no major technical sections. We dug in on the bike as we knew the Dutch pair were strong cyclists and we needed to close down Sara and Kylee. The first half of the bike was into a stiff wind and the Dutch girls flew past at about 9km. Around the turnaround point and we were flying assisted by the tail wind. We passed Sara and Kylee just before T2 and were told the Dutch pair were catchable.
Onto the run, a short section then 2 laps on smooth roads, where even the speed bumps had been smoothed over, very helpful as all the visually impaired athletes were running in blacked out glasses in accordance with ITU rules. The course had a few twists and turns and some steep ups and downs, but Hannah ensured that I knew as much information as possible and skillfully guided me round the course. We passed the Dutch girls part way round the first lap after a very steep downhill. We kept running, assisted by some great support from Brits and Irish alike, to win gold in the female, visually impaired category.
I couldn't stop smiling and really enjoyed the post race celebrations and the medal ceremony; where Britain's paratriathletes and age groupers were so successful. The icing on the cake was fellow north east triathlete Marie Stansmore winning the 35 - 39 category. by Charlotte Ellis