Liesl Ah Shene
FORMER Port Elizabethan Kyle Buckingham is making a name for himself in the Ironman world.
Buckingham, who originally hails from Newton Park, recently won his age group in a time of 8:37:26 at the 2013 GoPro Ironman World Championships held in Hawaii.
Buckingham, who turns 30 this year, set a 30-34 age-group record for the Kona bikes-sponsored event and finished 16th overall, so becoming the first – and fastest – amateur on the day.
His section times for the race were:
“It was unbelievable – it took three days for me actually to believe that what I had just accomplished was real. I was on top of the world for about three weeks. It was a great feeling – it still is – knowing I am the fastest amateur in the world in Ironman,” he said.
Buckingham loved competing in Hawaii. He says the whole island comes together for this event and the atmosphere and buzz are incredible a few weeks before the race.
“It is where the Ironman started in 1978 with only 10 people entering. Now we have 2000 athletes competing for the world champs. There is so much history there.”
Buckingham first took part in Ironman in 2009 at the age of 25. He was living in London at the time and his housemate was training for Ironman South Africa.
“He inspired me to start training for the following year. So I bought a bike and started running,” he said.
He believes his running still needs some work for next year, so he will be concentrating on speed work and recovery for the next race. After taking a few weeks off to relax, Buckingham is back in training for the next Ironman 70.3 in January.