A FORMER teacher has taken her success from marathon running onto the water after taking first place in a national rowing championship.

Karen Butler, who lives in Chirk, took a gold medal in the Welsh Indoor Rowing Championships in Cardiff on Saturday, November 23.

The 60-year-old claimed the top spot in the over 60s lightweight category, racing a distance of 2km.

She has picked up the gold medal after only taking up rowing last year.

Karen said: “I used to run a lot, but I had a big knee operation following the Berlin Half Marathon.

“After the operation I decided I wanted to take on another challenge, so I took up rowing and started training at Lion Quays Gym in Oswestry.

“It was a great feeling to finish first – I have finished second in a number of running events, so it was nice to win.”

Before she took up rowing, Karen was a keen long-distance runner, competing in marathons and half marathons in Britain and abroad.

She finished second in the London Marathon over 50s women’s category and second in the Berlin Half Marathon over 55s category.

Now she has turned her attention to rowing, she hopes to continue her success when she competes in more events.

Karen added: “I’d been running since I was 14.

“My husband, Sean, is an ex-international runner so we’ve always been interested in challenging ourselves.

“I’m hoping I can continue to do well after picking up my first gold medal from this rowing event.

“I will be taking part in the British Rowing Indoor Championships on Saturday, December 8 and hopefully some more competitions after New Year.”

The retired teacher isn’t focusing solely on rowing however, and is hoping she can set her sights on achieving another feat.

She added: “After retiring, I find I have more time to focus on training.

“I’m hoping to take on another challenge next year by participating in the Chirk Triathlon – a triathlon is something I have never done before that I would definitely like to give a go.”