AFTER 15 hours of swimming, cycling and running in tough conditions, Thornbury’s mayor has beaten the infamous Ironman triathlon, raising more than £1,600 for charity.

With temperatures going up to 34 degrees, Cllr Helen Harrison faced the tough task of swimming 2.4 miles, cycling 112 miles and completing a full marathon 26.2-mile run.

Finishing with a time of 15 hours and seven minutes, the 51-year-old placed 50th in her age group, with around 1,000 people racing in the event held in Vichy, France.

“I knew it was going to be hard, and I knew it was going to be long,” she said. “But the conditions on the day were more brutal than I expected.

“I dug deeper than I've ever had to before, am very pleased with how my body stood up to the massive challenge, and feel proud of what I achieved.

“And at least I wasn't one of the several who ended up in hospital, or the many who didn't manage to finish - predominantly for heat related reasons.”

Cllr Harrison said she covered around 3,500 miles in training over the space of 28 weeks, with her focus on raising money for Spurgeons Academy, a school that educates more than 400 children in Kibera, Kenya, the largest slum in West Africa.

Having visited the school before, and having been told that part of the school’s land had been taken over by the local authority for the re-development of railway lines, and the school’s kitchen demolished, she decided to help the fundraising cause to build them a new one.

“There were times when it was only the thought of not wanting to hand back all the sponsorship money that kept me going, and remembering all the people who had sent words and prayers of encouragement beforehand - so a massive thank you to all who gave support in any way.”

To sponsor Cllr Harrison, visit