“It was an amazing feeling. I was so excited to win The Championship title.” Lucy Buckingham – formerly Hall – was crowned champion of the 2021 Challenge Family The Championship in Samorin. That makes her the perfect athlete to ask tips for the upcoming race, which takes place on May 22, and – of course – Buckingham will be present again.
As usual, it was the swim that gave Buckingham a nice head start to the race. The British athlete followed it up with a strong bike part and managed to maintain her advantage during the run, despite slowing down during the final 10K. That she was able to win this race, gave Buckingham a well-needed confident boost. “2020 was such a turbulent year for me. I was considering retirement, however, I love training and I found my love for racing again”, she told Challenge Family.
But let’s get to some important tips for this special race, because who better to ask for tips for The Championship than the reigning champion? “Make sure you are aware of the current after the turn point, it can sometimes catch you off guard”, Buckingham says about the swim course. Although the bike course changed slightly in comparison to 2021, Buckingham would recommend figuring out where exactly the aid stations are, and to focus on fueling well.
Given the technicality of the run course, Buckingham recommends practicing turns. “Plus The Championship run course is unique in the sense there’s different terrain: grass, pavement, spongy surface through the stables and sand. It’s a super fun course, it keeps you on your toes, that’s for sure”, she continues.
That’s for the race itself, but how to approach the event training-wise? “Practicing open water swimming is a must! The more you practice open water, the easier it will become. Practice running off-road even though the run course is relatively flat, it has challenging terrain. Also, it can sometimes be super hot in Samorin, so practice taking on fluids when running. In hot conditions, the aid stations will be very important”, Buckingham explained.