YORK firefighter Kathryn Lazenby claimed fourth place at the European Cross-triathlon Age Group Championships.

The Terrington-based 37-year-old posted a time of three hours 38 minutes and 56 seconds in Sardinia to finish just outside the medals in preparation for her World Championships in Germany next month.

She said: "Fourth place is the worst position to come, because you're so close to a top-three finish."

Lazenby, competing in the 35-39 section, completed the course in the blazing Italian heat, riding predominantly along a bumpy forest track before running along Sardinia's soft-sand beach.

For most of the course, there were very few places to shade from the sun, which took its toll on the athletes' final times.

Lazenby claimed the fastest transition from the cycle to the run, but still looked for improvement in her overall performance.

She said: "I was a bit disappointed with my swim.

"I've done 18 days of open water training in Shetland and raised some money for Macmillan Cancer Support at the same time."

Lazenby has undertaken several charity fundraising challenges, completing a 1,250 mile ride from Land's End to John O'Groats in 2010.

In 2011, she and a friend set out to ride the entire route of theTour de France, before the event was cut short at the half-way point. Next year, she plans to ride the Arctic Circle in aid of Macmillan.

The next triathlon aim for Lazenby is the World Championships in Germany on Sunday, August 16.

A confident Lazenby said: "My training has been going well and I am hoping for a top-ten finish."

As an amateur triathlete, Lazenby funds her own participation in events at all levels.

She said: "I would like to thank my current sponsors CycleStreet of York and Britcom International of Market Weighton."

Lazenby is seeking new sponsors to help fund her World Championship campaign and anyone interested should email her at kathrynlazenby@hotmail.com