Congratulations to Margaret Smith, who's just become European Biathle Champion to add to her multiple World Champion titles.
Margaret Smith saw the start list for her Masters C class (age 60-69) race in the European Biathle Championships, and expected to finish in 4th place. She qualified for the Championships at the first Biathle in the 2017 British Biathle Series, which took place in Cheltenham in April.
Over 100 people who had qualified for the European Biathle Championships travelled to Setubal in Portugal to represent Great Britain in age groups from age 10, right up to age 70+. Margaret’s distance is an 800 metre run followed by a 100 metre swim, then a final 800 metre run.
Half way through the first run, Margaret was amazed to find herself in 2nd place. She went into transition for the swim in the Sado Estuary 17 seconds behind the leader, Germany’s Emily Freund. Margaret had never beaten Freund before, and thought to herself that she had a chance of the silver medal. With a phenomenal swim, Margaret overtook one of the Masters C men, and rapidly closed the gap on the German lady. They exited the water together and Margaret had a slick transition, leaving Freund behind. Now believing she could get the gold, Margaret went all out for her second run. With 300 metres to go, she turned the final corner and could see that she had a good lead on Freund. Her thoughts were “You are not getting past me now”, and she kept up her good pace and reached the finish line to become European Champion by a massive 16 seconds. Nobody was more surprised than Margaret, who had put everything she had into her race. Needless to say she was absolutely delighted.