Chorleywood athlete Caroline Whittaker secured a gold and silver medal in New Zealand at the World Triathlon Championships.

Whittaker, representing Great Britain, took top spot in the aquathlon 50 to 54 age category and defeated 80 athletes from across the globe.

The 51-year-old, who starting competing in the aquathlon and triathlon four years ago, admitted she was a “little surprised” to finish first.

She explained: “I have won the British Championships and the European Champions already this year so I was obviously going out there to do well.

“There were a lot of elite athletes there and many had brought their trainers to the event. So to take the gold medal was a little surprising but obviously I’m very happy.”

Whittaker, who is a member of Watford Harriers and Watford Joggers, also competed in the triathlon but an error on the bike meant she surrendered first place in her age category.

However, she quickly regained her composure and managed to come home in second and collect the silver medal.

“I am a little disappointed to be honest because if I hadn’t come off the bike then I would have won both gold medals,” Whittaker said.

“I recovered well though and produced my fastest 10k time so that was pleasing.”

She added: “It is definitely a highlight for me. I only started running when I was forty and started on the bike when I was 48.

“So it has happened quite quickly and I am now looking forward to next year’s World Championships which are being held in London.”