SHE’S swum the English channel and now inspirational Dunfermline sportswoman Andrea Gellan can add completing a World Championship Ironman to her list of achievements.

The 60-year-old mum-of-three travelled to sun-kissed Hawaii last month to compete against the world’s best in the gruelling event after finishing first in the Female 60-64 age category at Ironman UK in July.

Andrea, who in previous years has swum from Orkney to the Scottish mainland and taken part in the annual Forth open water swim, enjoyed her first triathlon triumph at the Outlaw Half Triathlon in May after deciding she fancied a fresh challenge.

That was the start of a journey all the way to Kailua-Kona on October 13 after winning one of 40 qualifying slots and, after getting through the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run in searing heat, she described it as an “amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience”.

After ending the swim fourth in her age category, the first half of the cycle was going to plan until reflective heat from the road began to burn her feet, which slowed her progress and transition into the run.

Despite that, she finished 22nd in her category, the 563rd female and 2,079th overall in a time of 15 hours, 15 minutes and 5 seconds.

“It was an amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience and is up there with swimming the channel. I’d love to do it again,” Andrea told Press Sport.

“It was a great learning experience and maybe when I’m 65 I’ll have another go! I’d only done one Ironman before so I was still a novice, and my main aim was to finish and enjoy it, and I did that.

“It was really hot – it was 31 degrees in the shade – and we were all packed in for the swim. There was a bit of argy-bargy but I loved it and had a time of one hour 13, which for a non-wetsuit swim I was really chuffed with.

“For the first half of the bike, I was doing brilliantly and was looking at sub-seven hours, which would have been a PB for me.

“But in the last quarter, the heat got to me and my feet were burning from reflected heat from the road, which was like when it’s lunchtime on holiday and you’re walking on sand. The heat was relentless and eventually I had to stop and put my feet in buckets of ice.

“When I got off the bike at the transition, I felt a bit light-headed so I had to have a seat, a drink, some ice and a wee to make sure I was rehydrated.

“At the start of my run it was beginning to cool down and I got my second wind and really enjoyed it.”

She added: “I finished about the middle of the field, which is what I expected. At the finish, the crowd was amazing; the announcer said ‘here’s Andrea Gellan, she’s swam the channel and now she’s done Ironman’!

“My family were all there as well which was lovely. We’re going to Australia next year to see relatives and I see there’s an Ironman there – it might be added into our plans!”