A 12-year-old triathlete capped off an excellent season by winning a national title.
Representing the North East, Daniel Dixon was victorious in the TriStar2 (11 and 12-year-olds) category at the Inter Regional Championships (IRC) in Nottingham.
He was third after the 300m swim in open water and a quick transition meant the Chantry Middle School and Technology College pupil moved up to second by the time he set off on his bike.
Daniel built up a lead during the 5000m cycling phase in heavy rain and he had enough in the tank for the 1800m run to win by 17 seconds. His overall time was 20 minutes 47 seconds.
He was confident going into the championships as he had won the seven previous triathlon races he had competed in, all during 2014. These included wins in York, Blackpool and the Scottish Nationals in Glasgow.
The Ulgham resident also takes part in swimming galas for Morpeth Amateur Swimming Club and athletics events for Morpeth Harriers.
“I was aiming to get on the podium, the big unknown was how good the competitors from the south were,” he said.
“I caught the leader after the swim about 100m into the cycling leg, as he had a bad transition, and pulled away from him. The rain came down hard, but I just got on with it.
“I knew a couple of people behind were quick runners, so I picked up the pace after the turn on the running leg to make sure of the win.
“A Triathlon England reporter spoke to me soon afterwards, but I didn’t know what to say because I was shocked at how well I had done.
“I enjoy the training more than I used to now that I’ve started to concentrate on triathlon and hopefully I will do well when I move up the categories.”
Daniel trains at the North East Triathlon Academy under the guidance of head coach Ian Simon. He has gone to summer sessions run by Colin Gardener of Ryton Tri and he is also grateful to individual sport coaches Tony Ward (Morpeth Harriers) and John Nicholson (Morpeth Amateur Swimming Club).
Proud parents Gordon and Wendy Dixon thanked his school for helping him to meet his training commitments.
Gordon, a former age-category winner at the national half-ironman championships, added: “I appreciate how hard Daniel has worked to achieve so many victories this year and winning the IRC race was the icing on the cake.”