AN athlete has triumphed in a World Championship to take the gold medal in her age group.

Renell Brennan, who lives and trains in Ulverston, was amazed when she crossed the finish line in first place – despite her original goal being to simply start the race.

Ms Brennan was an accomplished triathlete before Covid struck and had to overcome an unreliable income mixed with injury woes to even be present on the starting line.

She only started running again in April after a foot injury last year left her side-lined from competitions and training.

She said: “It feels amazing and it has only just sunk in.

“I raced Wednesday, travelled Thursday and then went off at the weekend to do another race so I have only just had a chance to process.

“But I went to the race with no expectations – my goal had moved to getting to the start line injury-free – I am very chuffed.”

And it was not easy. The Transylvanian course in Targu Mures, Romania, presented a challenge so strong that Ms Brennan thought she had lost it in her strongest discipline.

She said: “The bike riding was completely brutal. My biggest strength is biking but the course had a 1,000m incline over 27km.

“I just hoped everyone else was finding it even harder than I was – and they were.”

Ms Brennan came first in her age group, winning the gold medal, and sixth overall out of all ladies.

She said: “I had always had fantasies of standing on a podium but never really believed it – it feels really amazing.”

She trains at the swimming pool at Ulverston Leisure Centre and during the winter she uses the gym there.

Through Better – which operates the gym – and the GLL Foundation, she enjoys a free membership at the gym, which allows her to travel to competitions abroad, such as the World Championships in Romania, or the European Championships, which are to take place in Bilbao, Spain, in September of this year.