A WOMAN is getting ready to run a 10k race and triathlon – at 79 years old.

Daphne Belt, who turns 80 this summer, is training to run the Brighton Run2Music 10k race in May, followed by the Brighton Triathlon in September.

But this won’t be the first endurance event Daphne has taken part in.

She started running and swimming at the age of 50 and is now a triathlon world champion seven times, in her age range, and European champion for four years.

“Turning 50 was my catalyst to start training,” said Daphne.

“Most people get stewed up about 40, it passed me by. But 50 hit me like a tonne of bricks.

“Me and some friends joined a gym, lost some weight, did some road runs and we started running events.”

For Daphne, who lives in Littlehampton, it meant having to learn a new discipline to make the step up to triathlons and Ironman challenges.

She said: “I needed to learn to swim front crawl. It took my three months to be able to do a decent mile.”

Having done hundreds of races in her 29 years of competing Daphne said there is one secret to being able to keep going, even as she approaches 80.

She said: “It’s about keeping active. It’s as simple as that. I just haven’t stopped.”

Daphne was inspired by the Iron Man World Champion Paula Newby Fraser, who became an Ironman World Champion in Hawaii an incredible eight times.

Daphne is currently training for the Brighton Run2Music 10k race and says it is one she enjoys.

She said: “This race, and the Brighton Triathlon, are exceptionally good ones.

“They do encourage women, in particular, to take part.

“It’s very inviting to beginner ladies and they know they won’t be the only ones taking part.

“I’ve done it before and there’s floods of women of all abilities.”

Brighton Run2Music starts in Madeira Drive where athletes will be entertained by a live DJ and other musical acts before starting their race.

Entrants are encouraged to dress as pop stars and Daphne feared she has landed herself the role of Madonna.

She said: “I threw in Madonna as a joke, but I think they’ve taken it seriously. I can see me out there with the cone bra – if anybody’s got a spare costume they can throw it my way and I’ll wear it.”

The Brighton Run2Music takes place on Saturday, May 11.

Cheering Daphne on will be her husband Stephen Belt and daughter Jacqueline. Daphne and Stephen have worked together in the family business, Stephen Belt Antiques and Shipping in Arundel since they met more than 40 years ago.

Daphne is also writing a book about her triathlon career.

You can donate to Daphne's Just Giving page at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Daphne-Belt