Middle Distance Triathlon (70.3) Samorin, Slovakia

Holmfirth Harriers Mark Buckingham took part in his second race of “The Championship”, the new standard in International Triathlon, a middle distance triathlon, consisting of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike and a half marathon run of 13.1 miles based at the X-bionic sphere, a purpose built multi sports facility in Samorin to the south east of Bratislava in Slovakia.

The race took place on Saturday 3 June 2017, where Buckingham swam well in the River Danube completing the 1.9km course in 5th place (22mins 53 secs), behind race leader and probably the best swimmer in triathlon, Richard Varga who completed the course in 21.31. Alistair Brownlee was 2nd out of the water in 22.16, but soon moved into the lead on the 90km (56 miles) bike course.

Unfortunately Mark had a mechanical problem at the start of the bike course and lost five places relegating him to 10th place by the 21km point. Alistair Brownlee maintained his lead on the bike, finishing the bike course in 2.00.33. Buckingham came into T2 in 12th place ( 2.09.50) before tackling the half marathon distance run course (13.1miles), managing to overtake one of his rivals who had to serve a penalty for drafting on the bike and then moved into 10th place when Alistair Brownlee retired from the race.

Alistair Brownlee and Mark Buckingham arriving at the x-bionic sphere, Samorin, Slovakia

Mark completed the run in 1.20.03, which was probably 5 minutes down on the time he hoped to run (he has a PB for the distance of 65.52), but 10th place in 3.58.06 was a good result in hot conditions amongst a world class field, including the World Champion, European Champion, double Olympic Champion and former WTS Champion.

Race winner was the reigning world champion for the distance, Lionel Sanders of Canada; who blitzed the course in 3.40.04, second and third places went to Germans, Sebastian Kienle and Michael Raelert with times of 3.41.46 and 3.45.35 respectively.

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