Wildcard Buckingham surprises at Singapore T100

Lucy Buckingham in action at the Singapore T100

By Ben Hart, Sportsbeat

Wildcard Lucy Buckingham could not contain her delight after overcoming sciatica and the searing Singapore heat to clinch fifth place in Saturday’s T100 event.

The 32-year-old from Leicester kept pace with reigning Ironman world champion Lucy Charles-Barclay during the swim but cramped up on the latter stages of the bike.

Buckingham held second place through the first lap of the run and despite tumbling below the podium places, she reflected positively on a rousing effort in unrelenting conditions.

“It was tough, it was a really challenging environment to be in, the girls pushed me the whole way and there was no let up, it was all about managing the heart rate,” she said.

“Unfortunately I got a little bit of sciatica at the start of the week, so I was badly struggling with my left leg and I knew it was going to be a bit of a battle and on the bike it cramped at 60km and I thought, ‘oh no.’

“The heat gets to me and I’m a redhead out of my natural habitat, this isn’t normal for me.

“It was about giving it a go and seeing where I was at and I knew that with the run I had to let Luce go and I knew Ash would catch me, it was just about trying to pace it as best I could.”

Buckingham pulled out of T100 Miami after being sick heading into the race but looked in fine form in the far east, driving a fast early pace with BMC team member Charles-Barclay.

“I found it difficult being sat behind Luce because I had a bit more speed on the climbs, and she had more speed on the descents,” said Buckingham.

“I kept catching her up and then having to back off and surge and I could see my heart rate going up and I thought if I go at the front at least I can be a bit more conservative and keep an eye on the heart rate.”

Heading into T2, Charles-Barclay held a lead of over five minutes but Aussie Gentle came through what she described as ‘one of the hardest things in my life’ to take top spot.

Els Visser of the Netherlands completed the podium and Kiwi Amelia Watkinson snatched fourth from under Buckingham’s nose but the Brit was still delighted to be a part of the T100 event, with attention turning to the next leg in San Francisco in June.

“I love being a part of the T100 and it elevates the sport to the next level,” she added.

“It’s great for the sport and really puts it out for new people to watch and get involved with triathlon, it’s a participation sport more than anything.

“It’s really cool and everyone on the tour is genuinely super nice.”