A GRANDMOTHER who says that 'age is not a barrier' clinched a silver medal in her first European Duathlon Championships.

Tracy Ford, who only took up cycling in 2008 fulfilled her a dream of representing Team GB and despite battling against blustery conditions finished second in her age category in Soria, Northern Spain.

Ford lived and worked in Herefordshire, before retiring to Spain and joining a leisure cycling group.

Despite suffering from painful knees initially Ford took up the sport and to improve her fitness started running.

After being encouraged to run in a local 8.5-kilometre local race she was amazed to finish third in her age category.

Over the next 12 months she competed in a host of running events and also improving her cycling.

Ford was encouraged to compete in the Blenheim Triathlon in 2015 to raise money for cancer research.

A year later she returned to the event and won her age category sparking the belief that she could qualify to compete for Team GB.

She said: "I decided I would like to try and qualify for Team GB but as a duathlete rather than triathlete as I'm not a strong swimmer.

"After mentioning this to a friend that I cycle with he suggested I contacted a friend of his who has won World and European Championships at a very high level in duathlon and triathlon to see if he would coach me.

"He is now coaching me and I couldn't do this with out his support and knowledge of the sport.

"My age doesn't restrict me at all as I've always tried to stay fit, I'm very focused and I don't diet but instead I watch my nutrition as this is as important as my training. I also know when to rest. Age is not a barrier."

Ford proved this when she clocked the qualifying time to compete for Team GB at the championships in the 55-60 age category.

She competed in the sprint distance consisting of a five-kilometre run, 20-kilometre bike ride and finished with a 2.5-kilometre run.

"The race was very challenging as it was only six degrees at the start of the race and we also had 35-kilometre per hour winds," Ford added

"This made the bike leg difficult for those of us that done carry much weight. The weight of myself and my bike combined is only 59 kilogrammes, so it was hard to stay upright at times.

"The bike leg was also fairly hilly and the course was very technical. I was more than happy to finish second in my age category."

Ford's performance gave her an automatic place in next year's European Duathlon Championships being held in Ibiza which she is already targetting along with a possible journey to the World Duathlon Championships.