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Rio de Janeiro Olympic Qualification event

Sunday 2 August 2015

Mark Buckingham took part in the Rio de Janeiro Olympic qualification event on Sunday along with training partner, Alistair Brownlee, the current Olympic champion and three other GB triathletes. The race started on the iconic Copacabana beach, with a 1-lap 1500m swim, followed by 8-laps on the bike totalling 41.6kms, a very technical course with a tough climb on each lap and finally a 10km run. The ladies had competed at 9am, where World Champion Gwen Jorgensen maintained her 100% record in World Series races this season taking the gold medal and Leeds based triathletes Non Stanford (former World Champion) and Vicky Holland joining her on the podium finishing 2nd and 3rd respectively.

The elite men’s race started at 12.30pm and was a non-wetsuit swim, giving an advantage to the stronger swimmers. The first athlete out of the water was South Africa’s Henri Schoeman (17.47), with Buckingham over a minute behind in 66th place (18.53) out of a starting line-up of 75! A break-away group of 11 managed to get away on the bike including Alistair Brownlee, followed by a large chase group of over 40 athletes, including GB’s Adam Bowden and Tom Bishop. The swim deficit placed Mark Buckingham in a second chase group of 10 athletes, including fellow GB triathlete Aaron Harris. The group struggled to keep pace with the momentum of the large peloton ahead but on the final lap Buckingham moved into 55th place (59.56) and started the run course 90 seconds down on the chase group and over 3 minutes down on the leaders. Mark was unable to make any real impact on the run completing the 10k course in exactly the same time as Brownlee (33.02), reflecting the fatigue he felt after a tough swim /bike and finished 49th in 1.53.13. Javier Gomez (Spain) won the race in impressive style 1.48.26, followed by France’s Vincent Luis (1.48.40) and Richard Murray of South Africa who had the fastest run time of 30.30 finished third in 1.49.01. Alistair Brownlee returning from injury, may have exacerbated his injury problems on the run course finishing 10th in 1.49.54 and the other GB triathletes were Adam Bowden 12th in 1.50.09, Tom Bishop 33rd 1.51.50 and Aaron Harris 53rd 1.53.42.

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