KATHY Stringer is telling herself to be proud she won a silver medal at the World Duathlon Championships in Spain.

The 29-year-old former Hartford High School student, who ran at national level for Vale Royal Athletics Club during her teens, was second in her age group last weekend, improving on the bronze she won in the event two years ago with a time improved by more than eight minutes.

However she has admitted to shedding tears upon returning home with a silver medal rather than a golden one, resulting from finishing only 31 seconds behind Netherlands athlete Marieke Brouwers after completing the 10km run, 40km cycle and 5km run in Aviles.

“I did the best I could and I can’t be upset because of that,” said Stringer, the 2021 national and British champion who grew up in Wincham and currently lives in Comberbach.

Winsford Guardian: Kathy Stringer pedal power on her way to the silver medal. Picture: Two26 PhotographyKathy Stringer pedal power on her way to the silver medal. Picture: Two26 Photography

“My overriding emotion is I’m super happy and that’s because my performance itself went well. I couldn’t have asked any more of myself.

“In terms of the timings in the transition part, I was the fastest out of anyone in my race.

“My run times were basically the same as the girl who ended up winning, so where I lost time was on the bike. But that just comes down to more training now.

“The only thing I am upset about is that for 18 months to two years the goal for me was to get the gold medal.

“I got bronze at Pontevedra in 2019 and I self-coached myself to that bronze.

“And so afterwards I decided to invest in a coach (Paul Ryman) and take this more seriously, and I have done.

“My social life has been cut back a little bit, and I’ve been training almost twice a day every day for months and months.

“I was national champion and British champion this year, and I was thinking all I need to do now to complete the trio is to get this gold and unfortunately it just didn’t work out.

“The winner beat me overall by about 26 seconds. I’d almost have preferred for her to have annihilated me, to have beaten me by about five minutes and for me to have had no chance.

“However there was nothing in it. So all that goes through my mind now is if I’d sprinted out of transition and tried to catch her on that final 5k and ran it with her, and then it came down to the final sprint, could I have done it?

“But then you don’t know how that would have played out. I might have exhausted myself catching up with her and had nothing left in the tank at the end. You just don’t know, so I’ve got to try and stop my mind from playing it out like that.

“So what I’m saying to myself now is I really wanted the gold, but I’ve got the silver, be proud of that, and go back next year or in two years’ time and try again.

“My coach rang me straight after the race and he said are you happy, because I think he was worried that our goal this whole time had been gold, gold, gold. I said I am actually really happy, mainly because of my performance (rather than the colour of the medal).

“I went to Barcelona, had a few days off and rested. It was only when I got home and walked in through the front door that it hit me that I’d not come home with what I wanted. I had a little cry.

“I then texted my coach and said I’d just shed a few tears but I’m alright. And he said that’s good, it shows you’re passionate, it shows you care.

“It took my coach seven years to win a gold and he said this is only your second time, you’ve got loads of time, just keep going, keep dreaming and you’ll get there one day. So that’s what I’m doing.”

Stringer completed her first triathlon, which comprises of a swim, cycle and run, this year and won her age group, so she is looking to do some more of those in the months ahead but stated duathlon will continue to be her first choice.

The former 800m track runner, who won medals in the English Cross Country Relays Championships with Vale Royal teammates in 2006 and 2008, only completed her first duathlon in 2016 at Oulton Park.

She first started running aged nine when her parents took her and her three brothers Thomas, Ryan and James to the track at Knights Grange, Winsford.