FORMER Vale man George Hughes secured honours at the Ironman 70.3 New Zealand.

A determined Hughes finished second overall out of 409 athletes and won his age category 30 to 35.

He has qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Nice, France, as a result on September 7.

It was Hughes' first race at the distance and his biggest achievement in the endurance sport.

The Cheltenham Triathlon Club competitor completed the course, which consisted of a 1.9-kilometre swim, 90km cycling section and 20.1km run, in four hours 24 minutes

Hughes, 31, has been racing in triathlons since 2012 and represented Great Britain in his age group at world finals and European championships.

He grew up on a farm just outside Evesham and has lived in Cheltenham since 2009.

Hughes played rugby for Gloucestershire before captaining England under 18s while at Bath.