LEEDS triathlete Non Stanford is optimistic her injury problems are behind her ahead of this weekend’s World Triathlon Series leg in Edmonton.
Stanford became world champion in 2013 before finishing fourth at the 2016 Rio Olympics but the athlete had to endure 18 months of frustration after tearing her Achilles at the end of the year. But Stanford returned to form at the third leg of this year’s World Series when finishing third in Yokohama and the 29-year-old was then sixth in Hamburg earlier this month after missing the Leeds leg through illness.
Stanford said: “I have managed to manage any injury issues that I have got and keep them under control at the minute.
“That is going to be key, continuing to manage my Achilles so that it doesn’t get out of hand again. If I can do that then, hopefully, I can consistently be on or very near the podium.
“With a world title that is decided over a series, that’s going to be my best shot at featuring at every race and getting to the end of the season in one piece.
“I tore the Achilles at the end of 2016 so that’s been the battle ever since then, really. I barely ran after the Leeds World Series last year. Medical experts decided that it had got too bad and stopped me from running and I had injections in it to try and settle it down. I barely ran for a few months after that and it has been a long, slow process building up after that. Fingers crossed, I am managing it now. I think I have got to a point in my career where I hobble out of bed every morning but I think most people at my age do.”
Stanford sits 11th in the 2018 standings, one place below Leeds compatriot Jess Learmonth with Stanford’s former housemate, Vicky Holland, third. The USA’s Katie Zaferes leads the series ahead of Holland’s Rachel Klamer with Flora Duffy fourth and set to miss this race with a foot injury.
Fellow Leeds racers Georgia Taylor-Brown and Jodie Stimpson sit 13th and 16th, respectively.
Mario Mola leads the men’s series ahead of France’s Vincent Luis with South Africa’s Richard Murray third. Leeds’ Tom Bishop is 15th, one place above Jonathan Brownlee.