TROWBRIDGE’S Rachel Bown is expecting this year’s ITU Age Group World Championships to be tougher than ever.

Bown, 41, who has two top-10 finishes under her belt after competing the world championships in Budapest in 2010 and Beijing in 2011, will race in the 40-44 age group at the 2012 championships in Auckland, New Zealand, on Monday.

She also claimed a silver medal at the ETU European Championships in Israel in April.

But she does not think that her experience of age group competitions will give her any greater chance of success in the Southern Hemisphere.

“There are going to be about 80 people running in my age group this time while in the past it’s only been about 15, so it’s going to be a lot harder,” said Bown.

“I think that finishing anywhere in the top 15 would be a good result.’’ “I’ve never been as far as New Zealand before and flying for 24 hours will have been a new experience for me.

“I’ve also had quite a bit of time out earlier this year through illness, so hopefully I’m back to where I want to be.

“One thing that I’m doing differently this year is not staying in the GB hotel.

“I’ve experienced that before and it’s great to start with but it can be tiring talking to people all the time about training and everything else – my old coach John Brame and my team-mate Marsha El-Hage will be coming out with me.”

Bown works as a PE teacher at Larkrise School.

She said: “I’ve got to say thank you to the school for letting me have the time off to do this because there would be no way I could compete if they didn’t.”

Bown will be heading a healthy contingent of local triathletes who are running, swimming and cycling in New Zealand.

Upton Scudamore’s Diane Hier will be competing in the 50-54 age group while daughter Leanne Tiley will be in action in the 30-34 category.

Avon Valley Runners’ Mel Nicholls is set to feature in the 35-39 sprint distance group.

Trowbridge youngster Dan Ford and Frome Triathlon Club’s Paul Ryman are also set to take part in the championships.