Sonia Knox is European Champion having smashed the course to lift the age group title at Sunday’s Alcobendas ETU Sprint Duathlon.
An elated Sonia was over the moon after months of training and preparation paid off and before she stepped on the podium for her awards ceremony she spoke to Times Sport: “I just can’t believe it, I am totally overwhelmed, this has been an amazing experience from the word go and I have learned so much.”
Having arrived in Spain, Sonia’s first challenge was to meet up with the Irish team and get her bike built, however things didn’t quite go to plan.
“I managed to get lost on the metro on my way to joining the team and by the time I got there the mechanic had left,” explained Sonia.
“The team manager was just amazing and she got me sorted and then offered to let me stay in the team hotel on Saturday night which I did.”
That decision proved to be a fortuitous one for Sonia as the fire alarm went off in the apartments where her husband Gareth and children were staying and they found themselves out of their accommodation for over an hour - not exactly the ideal preparations for a European championships.
Despite the course being exceptionally testing, Sonia, who lives in Portrush, took it all in her stride.
“From the start I knew I was doing well with my running and I beat my best time for a 5K by 20 seconds. The course was very hilly and technical and I had never done anything like it before yet it really suited me and I loved it.
“It was hard work but I knew I had prepared well. The conditions weren’t good and the course was very slippery so I guess in a way it favoured me because we are used to training in all conditions at home.
“I can’t express how it felt to win, it was very emotional and it was just brilliant to have Gareth, who has been an absolute rock, and my children there.
“I couldn’t have done this without the support of so many people especially Maurice McAllister and Ballymoney Cycling Club. I have been overwhelmed from the start by the support they have given me.”
With the European title in her bag what’s next for Sonia?
“I had planned to race next week but I’m going to give my body a little time to recover.
“I will be doing a half ironman in Dublin and then preparing for the triathlon season, so that will keep me busy.”