Ironman 70.3 Liuzhou, China - Brownlee and Buckingham finish 1st & 4th

Double Olympic Champion, Alistair Brownlee and training partner, Mark Buckingham took part in Ironman 70.3 Liuzhou, China on the way back from the Commonwealth Games in Australia. 

The two men have been affected by injuries recently, which no doubt hampered Alistair’s performance at the Commonwealth Games as he had been unable to do many run sessions. Brownlee had raced in Dubai earlier this year which he won and despite his recent injury problems, was happy with both his swimming and cycling. 

The race got underway in Liuzhou at 7.30am on Sunday, with the swim taking place in the Liu River through the centre of the city and exiting the swim course in the scenic Broom Hill Park. Alistair Brownlee completed the 1.9km swim in 1st place with a fast time of 21.49, opening an early lead. Mark Buckingham came out of the water in 8th place in a time of 23.12 along with three-time Ironman World Champion, Craig Alexander of Australia and Justin Metzler of USA. Brownlee set a fast pace on the 90km bike leg extending his lead and recording the fastest time of 2.01.16, more than 6 minutes faster than Alexander and a further minute quicker than his training partner Buckingham who completed the bike leg in 2.08.37. Craig Alexander had a super run over the half-marathon distance recording a time of 1.12.51, but was unable to catch Brownlee (1.16.22) who won the race comfortably in 3.45.28. Alexander finished a well-deserved 2nd place in 3.49.17 and Sam Betten was 3rd in 3.50.29. Mark Buckingham finished in 4th place with a run time of 1.16.54 and a total time of 3.54.29 and Justin Metzler of USA finished in 5th place (3.55.44).  

The three men who made the podium were all ranked in the top three prior to the race, with Buckingham ranked 9th, although he was possibly a little disappointed with his performance, 4th in Liuzhou was a good start to the season. Brownlee and Buckingham returned to the UK on Monday after 6 weeks in Australia and China to start a new block of training.

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