"It is not an unknown being a mum and an elite athlete. There are so many good role models for women coming back after childbirth."
Helen Jenkins

"It is not an unknown being a mum and an elite athlete. There are so many good role models for women coming back after childbirth."

The 35-year-old has always had issues with her back, but is hopeful the surgery is successful.

Jenkins has targeted the Cardiff Half Marathon in October for her return, not so much for serious competition rather than seeing how her body is coping after the surgery. And it gives her a rare chance to take part in a big city event.

Then it will be targeting a place in Tokyo where the competition will be tough with GB triathlon, on both the men's and women's sides, very strong. There is also the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

"I haven't competed since 2016 and it has been difficult. I love watching the races when they are on, but I do miss it.

"The issue with the back is a genetic thing which I've managed to cope with throughout most of my career.

"The problem I was having was with swimming. Normally, when you have an injury swimming is the easiest thing to be doing but you do extend a lot through your back when you swim which I can't do now as I've got screws and plates in my back to keep everything where it is meant to be.

"They are going to stay in there now unless they need to come out. The bones fuse around them. It feels good.

"I didn't really realise before how much pain I was in. I could only get out of bed a certain way and if I had to sit in the car for a certain period of time everything was aching. But now I don't have any of that.

"It's good to do certain things and think 'oh, that doesn't hurt'. For the future a lot of it will depend on if I get back to a good enough swimming level, which I think I can."

Overseeing her training will be coach Marc, who also competed for Britain at the 2004 Olympic Games, as well as doing his bit on the parental front.

Marc says: "The older Max gets the more focus will be on me looking after him and Helen can just train and concentrate on what she does and not have to worry about looking after the kids at night.

"It can go either one of two ways, now. She will either not be able to compete to a high standard again or she will be better than she has ever been.

"If the limiting factor throughout her career has been her back, which we know it has, then we are hopeful that this surgery might have fixed it. We will see. We will give it a shot.

"The Tiger factor is there. He had a lot of back surgeries and though I don't know exactly what he had, it was very similar.

"He may not put the load directly through the spine that Helen might with the running, but he is certainly pulling way more rotational force that Helen will be.

"And his back has held up bloody well, hasn't it?"