Sharky completes his latest challenge at the World Championships!

Mark Buckingham has represented Great Britain at the ITU Multisport World Championships in Penticton, Canada during the last nine days. As previously reported, he won the bronze medal in the Elite Men’s World Duathlon Championships. On Friday 25 August 2017 he contested the Aquathlon World Championships comprising a 1km open water swim and a 5km run. Mark had a good swim completing the course in 13.50 and was 12th out of the water, but conceded 50 seconds to Canadian, Longcroft-Harris who swam a superb 13.00. The 5km run was fast and furious and although Mark ran the second fastest time 15.52 he was unable to claw back the deficit finishing in 5th place (30.32), behind Canadian Matthew Sharpe who won the event in 29.55.

Less than 24 hours later he tackled the Long Distance Triathlon, apart from the swim this was three times the Olympic Standard Distance Triathlon, a swim of 3km, bike 120km and run 30km. Although Mark has stepped-up to the Half Ironman (70.3) this year, he has never previously run this distance or raced over a course of 95 miles.

The 3km swim went well, Joshua Amberger of Australia went into the lead recording a time of 36.29, Mark was in 5th place (38.15). The 120km bike course proved to be a real challenge for a lot of the athletes and as expected a few of the experienced long distance men passed him as he struggled on the final lap, but he completed the bike course in 10th place (3.02.02). Amberger extended his lead with a super-fast time of 2.48.57, with Sylvain Sudrie of France moving into 2nd place and pre-race favourite Lionel Sanders of Canada in 3rd place, was 6 mins 20 secs behind the leader despite having suffered a puncture. During the gruelling bike and run course, six of the elite men dropped-out of the race and one unfortunate competitor was disqualified.

The final 30km run proved decisive, the impressive Canadian soon overhauled Sudrie, but it wasn’t until after the bell for the last run lap he was able to catch race leader and went on to win the race in 5.20.36, recording the fastest run time of 1.45.34. Amberger (Australia) took the silver medal (5.22.09) and Joe Gambles of Australia clinched the bronze medal (5.26.23). The 2016 Long Distance World Champion, Sylvain Sudrie of France eventually finished in 5th place (5.29.49). Buckingham had moved into 7th place on the run, but lost two places on the final lap and finished in 9th place in 5.38.48, recording a run time of 1.55.40.

Although very tired after three races in nine days, his verdict on the World Championships was “Mega” and thanks for all the messages of support.

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