Women's Sport: Triathlete Helen Jenkins makes an impressive return to racing in Dubai

Triathlon - Olympics: Day 15

Helen Jenkins made an impressive comeback to racing, finishing in fourth place at the Dubai 70.3 Ironman.

The 35-year-old only gave birth to her second child eight months before and it was the two-time Triathlon World Champion's first race in over three years. 

The triathlete finished the race, which consisted of a 1.9km swim, a 90km bike ride and a 21.1km run, in four hours, eight minutes and two seconds. 

Jenkins was in third place until she was overtaken with just 5kms until the finish line. Switzerland's Imogen Simmonds placed first, Danielle Dingman from the USA came second and  Pamela Oliveira of Brazil came in third.

Before having her second child, Jenkins had been told she may never compete at an elite level again after having an urgent spinal fusion operation.

After the race, Jenkins told BBC Sport: "My last race was in 2016 before I had my first child Mali - the hope was then to return to competing."

"Then my back got really bad. I needed an operation and my surgeon said my racing days were probably over. I was fine with that because for me surgery was about living an active life and being able to take out the kids in the future, go for a jog and go cycling."

Jenkins had the operation in early 2018 and eventually started to train again but she couldn't quite find her form. After having her second child, her back started to feel better.

After the race Jenkins wrote on Instagram: "First race back completed! 4th in #imdubai703 Was so glad to get to the finish, the last 2k felt a long way. I loved being back racing, the result wasn't too important to me, it was about putting myself back on a startline after such a long time away from racing. I am really happy to come away with 4th. I have plenty of room to improve and I'm excited to get home and get stuck into some good training. Although my legs are so sore maybe a few easy days first!"

She told the BBC it was her longest run in five years and said: "Everything I will do now is a bonus, and I do it because I love it.

"I want my kids to see me race. They weren't here for this one, but if there's another they'll see that."

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