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Local Ironman hero Buckingham claims top honours at African Championship

Born and bred in Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Bay triathlete Kyle Buckingham showed his grit and determination when he improved drastically on his previous performances by crossing the finish line first at the Standard Bank Ironman African Championship on Sunday.

Buckingham, an Ambassador for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship taking place on 1 and 2 September in Nelson Mandela Bay, finished fourth last year.

Rebecca Nyangaresi-Gatang’i, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Project Manager for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, says Buckingham’s victory is a delicious cherry on top of the partnership formed with the municipality.

"We are incredibly pleased with the impressive victory as Kyle represents our upcoming much vaunted international event as an ambassador.

"Through his commitment and partnership formed with the city, he has promoted the September event at all his activities by choosing Nelson Mandela Bay as his preferred training and racing destination.

"Thank you Kyle for being such an outstanding example to aspiring triathletes and not only flying the South African flag high, but also being an incredible ambassador for Port Elizabeth. We are looking forward to the months ahead,” Gatang’i said.

Spectacular start   

The Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship was off to a spectacular start early on Sunday morning, 15 April 2018, at Nelson Mandela Bay’s Hobie Beach. The canon sounded at 06:30 AM after which the top pro male athletes took off into the ocean. The swim covers a distance of 3.8 kilometres and the sea temperature was 18.6°C making it a wetsuit optional swim.

The first pro male athlete out of the water was Josh Amberger, from Australia, with a superb time of 46:23. Second out the water was Peru Alfaro San Ildefonso, from Spain (+01:48) followed by Evert Scheltinga, from the Netherlands (+01:50).

Lucy Charles (UK) was the first pro female athlete out of the water with a stunning swim time of 47:31. Charles proved again why she is one of the best swimmers in the sport. Canadian Rachel McBride (+05:15) was second out of the water, with Charlotte Morel, hailing from France fast on her heels (+05:25).

Swimming Results for pro male triathletes:

1.      Josh Amberger – 46:23

2.     Peru Alfaro San Ildefonso - +01:48

3.      Evert Scheltinga - +01:50

Swimming Results for pro female triathletes:

1.      Lucy Charles – 47:31

2.      Rachel McBride - +05:15

3.      Charlotte Morel - +05:25

At the 45km mark of the cycling Josh Amberger kept his place in first position with a time of 01:50:08. Amberger was followed by Cameron Wurf with a time of 01:51:33. Peru Alfaro San Ildefonso dropped from second place to fifth place at the 45km mark. Last year’s Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship 2017 winner, Ben Hoffman, placed in fourth position at the 45km with a time of 01:52:57, following Giulio Molinari in third.

In the pro female race, Lucy Charles crossed the 45km mark in first position with a time of 02:02:51, holding on to her place after a strong head start in the swim. Rachel McBride followed in second position with a time of 02:09:47. Charlotte Morel tied with Nikki Bartlett, both attaining a time of 02:11:38 and coming in third position.

Cameron Wurf took the opportunity to overtake Amberger between 45km and 90km on the cycle and was seen to come in first position at the turnaround point at 90km with a time of 02:58:58. Amberger had a time of +02:23 and in third position, Guilio Molinari had a time of +03:00. Kyle Buckingham (South African) placed fourth with a time of +05:22 and fifth place went to Ben Hoffman (+05:26).

At the 90km turnaround point, Charles and McBride kept their first and second positions with times of 03:16:44 and +09:03. Susie Cheetham overtook Morel between 45km and 90km and landed with a time of +10:04. Morel placed fourth with a time of +13:16 with Emma Pallant placing fifth at +14:41.

The top 3 male pro athletes passing the 110km mark were Wurf, Amberger and Molinari. Wurf had a time of 03:25:24, while Amberger came in at 03:28:58 and Molinari had a time of 03:29:27.

Top female pro athletes passing the 110km mark were Lucy Charles in a time of 03:51:36 followed by Cheetham in a time of 04:01:26. In third position with a time 04:01:39 was McBride.

The 152km mark saw the top 5 male pro athletes come in with Wurf in first position (04:35:54), Hoffman in second (04:39:16), Eneko Llanos coming in third (04:39:17), Maurice Clavel taking fourth place (04:39:20) and fifth went to Scheltinga (04:47:08).

The top 5 female pro athletes at the 152km mark were first place Charles (05:06:19), second place was taken by Cheetham (05:16:23), third was McBride (05:16:29). Corbin came in fourth position (05:22:44) and fifth was taken by Morel (05:23:14).

Cameron Wurf was the first male pro triathlete to come off the bike with a time of 05:12:31, transitioning promptly into the running section of the race at approximately 11:43 AM. Second to finish the cycle was Amberger (+07:42) and third was South African Kyle Buckingham (+09:44).

The first female pro triathlete to transition into the running section of the race was Lucy Charles after 05:47:47. McBride transitioned second 11 minutes 29 seconds after Charles. Third was Cheetham (+12:00).

Cycling Results for pro male triathletes:

1.      Cameron Wurf – 05:12:31

2.      Josh Amberger - +07:42

3.      Kyle Buckingham - +09:44

Cycling Results for pro female triathletes:

1.      Lucy Charles – 05:47:47

2.      Rachel McBride - +11:29

3.      Susie Cheetham - +12:00

21km into the run saw the top male pro athlete keep his place in first position with a time of 06:39:16. Amberger was also able to keep second position with a time of +05:00 minutes. Buckingham was also consistent and kept his third position with a time of +05:16 minutes.

Buckingham was able to run ahead of Wurf, coming in first position at the 29km mark with a time of 07:16:19. Wurf came in second at this mark (+00:11) and third position went to Amberger (+01:24).

Buckingham was still holding on to first position at 31.5km (07:26:56). Second was Wurf (07:28:01) and third was taken by Amberger with a time of 07:28:48.

The 2018 Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship went to Kyle Buckingham with a total time of 08:12:59. Buckingham commented that, "[I] grabbed the South African flag running down the red carpet… it’s just a phenomenal feeling… [I’m] proud to be an ambassador for Nelson Mandela Bay”. In second place was Amberger with a total time of 08:16:00. "I really gave it my best shot today… Buckingham is a fantastic athlete… I’m really thrilled with my result,” says Amberger. Maurice Clavel came in third with a total time of 08:18:50. Cameron Wurf came in fourth with a total time of 08:20:06. In an interview after the race, Wurf said, "I had a good lead and felt pretty good,” adding that, "I was really happy for Kyle, I saw him on the first lap… and really wanted him to win… I’m really glad for him”. Fifth place went to Ronnie Schildknecht in a time of 08:23:08.

In the ladies race, the 2018 Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship went to Britain’s Lucy Charles with a total time of 08:56:06. She lead throughout the race and looked comfortable to the end. Charles says, "My main plan was to validate for the World Championships… and I’ve done that and I’m happy with that… the run is always the toughest part”. In second place was Susie Cheetham with a time of 09:02:58. Susie commented "overall I’ve had a good performance… I can’t complain… this is my fourth time here, and I think it’s been my best performance”. Third place went to Linsey Corbin, attaining a time of 09:07:10. Corbin says that, "It was a beautiful… and a challenging course… racing in Africa is a dream come true… my plan was to focus on myself… I just raced my own race and it ended up working out pretty well for me”. Rachel McBride came in fourth position with a time of 09:18:34. The fifth position went to Manon Genêt with a total time of 09:21:59.

Final Results for pro male triathletes:

1.      Kyle Buckingham – 08:12:59

2.      Josh Amberger – 08:16:00

3.      Maurice Clavel – 08:18:50

Final Results for pro female triathletes:

1.      Lucy Charles – 08:56:06

2.      Susie Cheetham – 09:02:58

3.      Linsey Corbin – 09:07:10

Ends

Additional information courtesy of Ironman South Africa (mediasa@ironman.com). 

Issued on behalf of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality by Media Management Officer Kupido Baron (082 780 2726 / 041 506 1500 / kbaron@mandelametro.gov.za / @kupidobaron).

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