AN 81-year-old woman from West Byfleet showed age was no barrier when she competed in a major indoor rowing event, writes Mary Barber.

Shelagh Allen was cheered on by a 3,000-strong crowd at the Mizuno British Rowing Indoor Championships at Lee Valley VeloPark, Stratford, East London.

The former nurse was the oldest female competitor, but showed grit and determination to keep up with the best of them. She finished her 2000m race in a respectable 10.42.

“I have enjoyed coming here and competing,” she said.

Shelagh took up indoor rowing at the age of 58. She has competed in many events, including the world championships, and has held several British records.

“I used to cycle but then tried indoor rowing and loved it,” she said. “I used to go five days a week but now go about three. As long as I keep going I will keep doing it. So many people say they are proud of me, which is great.”

Her next major event will be the World Rowing Indoor Championships in Paris in February. In the meantime, the mother-of-two and grandmother-of-one will continue to go to the gym and power walk for an hour every morning with her husband Tom, 85.