A runner who was told she would never run again is to make her world championship debut representing Great Britain in running and cycling.
Sarah Ridehalgh, a member of Accrington Road Runners, will compete at the World Duathlon Championships in Spain in June.
The 40-year-old only took up running in her late twenties but after training with the Road Runners, began doing marathons and competing at county level.
But three years ago she was struck down with an injury which doctors said meant she would never be able to take part in the sport again.
She said: “The bone had come apart at the base of my fifth metatarsal, the last bone at the outside of the foot.
“Doctors said I’d probably never run again. I was absolutely devastated as it was something I’d done for years and was my social life too.
“My foot eventually healed after around two years and treatment in the form of a machine which stimulates bone growth I had to use for 20 minutes daily for six months.”
While recovering, the fitness enthusiast cycled as her foot could stay in a fixed position while she did it.
She said: “Then when I was better people suggested I do a duathlon so I went to a qualifying event at Oulton Park and finished second in my age group, automatically qualifying me to represent Great Britain.
“It was fantastic, but it’ll be really hard in Spain as I’ll face experienced duathletes, some with state of the art carbon fibre bikes compared to my normal street bike.”
Sarah will compete in the 40- to 45-year-old sprint category, entailing a 5km run, a 25km cycle and a further 5km run.
But the determined NHS Trust employee, who works in the quality and safety department at Royal Blackburn Hospital, will take on another
challenge before the championships – cycling 1,000 miles with her husband, Anthony, 43, from Land’s End to John O’Groats on April 27 to raise funds for the Rosemere Cancer Foundation Chemotherapy Unit Appeal at Burnley General Hospital.
The determined sportswoman is training by cycling up to 100 miles a week and completing gruelling runs.
She said: “The cause is close to our hearts as we have family having chemotherapy.”