Three Watford-based triathletes secured a gold, silver and bronze medal in their respective age-groups at the European Triathlon Championships at Pontevedra in Spain last weekend.

Hannah Kitchen, a member of the Watford Harriers, got the group off to a winning start on Saturday, claiming bronze in the 20-24 Age group Sprint Distance, in what was her first ever Championship.

On Sunday, team mate Mike Orton, the most experienced triathlete of the three, and Caroline Whittaker from Chorleywood competed in the longer Olympic Distance event, both in the 50-54 Age Group. Mike was first up and claimed a Silver medal in a time of 2.15.30. Whittaker’s event was shortly after Orton’s and she claimed gold in a time of 2.24.36.

It was the first time any of the three had competed on a European stage, and what makes their performances even more impressive, is that they were competing in the middle of a Spanish heatwave, during which many athletes, including local favourite, Javier Gomez, were treated for heat exhaustion.

Silver medal winner Orton said: "It was a truly memorable weekend. As well as our own events the elite races were being held, with the run circuit taking in several laps of the medieval old town of Pontevedra with its narrow and twisting streets. The athletes were so close you could touch them. The mens' race was won by Great Britains's Alistair Brownlee with his brother Jonny picking up the silver in an incredibly exciting race.”

Orton plans to kick on from his success with by competing in the English National Championships at Milton Keynes at the end of July, followed by Ironman Regensburg in Germany in early August.

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