EVESHAM Vale Triathletes' Melanie Clarke shook off a car crash to secure a gold medal at the Home Nations Championships in Chester.

Clarke took on the Deva middle-distance triathlon with a 1,900-metre river swim, 87km on the bike course and a 21km run.

Her time of five hours six minutes earned the gold as fastest English athlete in her age group for the championships.

Clarke also finished close behind a Scottish rival to take second place in the overall race for her age group.

The triathlete's result was all the more remarkable considering she was involved in a car crash earlier in the week which left her shaken and unsure whether she would race at all.

Clarke said: “I didn’t decide to race until Saturday morning so arrived in Chester a little disorganised and slept in my car then had a fantastic race!”

She also clocked a personal best for the distance as part of preparations for the European Championships in Romania next month.