MELANIE Clarke secured a top-five place at the European Triathlon Union Long Distance Championships in the Netherlands.

The Evesham Vale Triathletes ace, representing the Great Britain age group team, was fourth in the women's 50 to 54 year category with a total time of 11 hours 42 minutes.

The race was incorporated into the Challenge Almere event and involved a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike section and 26.2-mile run.

This was Clarke’s first attempt at the distance and she went into the race at the end of a long, hard season with a few injury niggles to contend with.

She said: “This was the most awesome race. And if I’d done some real long-distance training all season I may have appreciated it more on the run.

"With my Achilles tendon injury I incurred one week out from the race I was not even confident I’d finish. But I did and with a sub-12-hour first long distance I’ve got to be happy."