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Novocastrian Parker finishes triathlon despite burns


A brutal dose of sunburn hospitalised Novocastrian paratriathlete Lauren Parker but could not prevent her from completing the hardest race of her career at the 70.3 world championships.

Three weeks after her Tokyo Paralympics silver medal, she finished the half-Ironman distance triathlon in seven hours 54 minutes 43 seconds at St George in Utah on Saturday.

Parker said the event was harder than the Hawaiian Ironman world championships, where she finished second in her age group six years ago.

The 32-year-old from Newcastle was left a paraplegic after a 2017 bike accident.

Parker was preparing in the Las Vegas heat for the 70.3 worlds when she had to wait in a car after a training session.

She had her feet on the dashboard and because she has no feeling in that part of her body, she did not realise they were being scorched by the sun.

Parker had to spend time in a St George hospital for treatment.

Nurses Marci Nell and Sydnee Slack and Dr Carl Van Gils from Intermountain Healthcare also worked with race officials to help her through the race.

The two nurses dressed her wounds after the 1.9km swim and the 90km bike.

“They were unbelievable, I couldn’t ask for a better support system here,” she said.

“I’m sore, it was the hardest race, the hardest course that I have ever come across.

“I’ve raced Kona twice and it was harder than that.

“My arms were killing, but I got it done and it was a great experience.

“It will make every other Ironman easy.”

Parker said she had to stop at times on the steep hills during the 21.1km run leg.

An unusual storm system also brought heavy downpours and gusty wind.

Norwegian Gustav Idan successfully defended his men’s elite 70.3 world title, crossing the line in 3:37.13, while Australian Sam Appleton was eight minutes behind in ninth place.

British star Lucy Charles-Barclay won her first 70.3 world title in 4:00.20 and Ellie Salthouse was the first Australian elite woman in 14th. 

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