North Northumberland’s newest world champion is gradually coming down to earth after the whirlwind of winning gold earlier last month.
Jo Gascoigne-Owens, a member of Alnwick Tri Club for five years as well as an Alnwick Harrier, won the aquathlon title at the International Triathlon Union World Championships in London’s Hyde Park on September 11.
The 33-year-old from Alnmouth won the coveted place at the championships by winning the Red Venom Aquathlon in May.
Her race category in the swim/run event – 30-35 female – meant that she was up against a daunting field of 49 other international athletes who had travelled from as far away as Brazil, Canada and New Zealand.
And although she raced in the 30-35 age group, her time was so fast that if she had competed in the elite Aquathlon race she would have finished in fifth place.
“It’s all been a bit mad,” Jo said this week. “It’s starting to sink in now, but it’s all happened in a bit of whirlwind.
“As the event was in London, it started to sink in a bit more when I got back to the club and I have had a great reception locally.”
The 1km swim in the Serpentine saw Jo come out of the water in 12th place, but by the second 5km lap of the run, she had progressed through the field into second place, eventually winning by a margin of 16 seconds over Team GB compatriot Sarah Lewis in second.
Being Jo’s first race as a member of Team GB and the fact it was an international field meant that it was difficult to gauge how she measured up ahead of the event.
“I knew I was in good form and I knew I had a great chance as I had qualified fastest locally, but obviously it’s impossible to know who’s going to turn up internationally,” she said.
“I felt good, but it was all a bit of a mystery.”
And taking part in a major championships, which saw athletes competing throughout the week, was an experience too.
Jo said: “We saw (Olympic heroes) the Brownlee brothers running around training and quite a lot of elite athletes were there. There was a big crowd of spectators from all over the world. There were large international teams all going around in their team colours so it was a really nice atmosphere.”
Jo thanked Alnwick Harriers for its support and Alnwick Tri Club, particularly for the multi-discipline coaching.