We track down Kyle Buckingham on the on the winding roads of Boulder, Colorado, based on the foothills of the Rocky Mountains to find out his thoughts on the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa.

Thanks for taking some time out of your hectic training schedule to have us Kyle; how’s it going?

Thanks guys, I can’t remember a time where I have trained so intensely and for so many hours, I barely get to see Lauren and I cant even make time to fit in a haircut. I am currently in Boulder, Colorado. I have been here for 5 and a half weeks doing a bit of altitude training and have absolutely loved it here. Tomorrow we will be driving back to Arizona (13 hours) for some heat training before the full distance IRONMAN World Champs in Kona.

So the last time we saw you you had just come off of a massive career victory, winning the African leg of IRONMAN, how has the response been in the triathlon community?

It was absolutely amazing for my career goals as this has been my goal for 10 years. After my win, nothing has really changed except a few more people know who I am now.

How do you find training in other countries as opposed to your home country?

I follow the Ironman race circuit so training in Winter in South Africa to race in Summer abroad doesn’t make sense to me. I always like to train as much as I can in the weather conditions I will be racing in.

Do you find that training and competing in different environments across the globe gives you a competitive edge as opposed to training and competing in one location?

In the triathlon world you can’t make a living racing one or two races per year in one location. Travelling is part of the job, I would also not say it is or is not a competitive edge doing this. You just have to follow the race circuit where ever that takes you if you want to be in the mix and compete against other top competitors. I have come to Boulder to train in altitude which scientifically has benefits for athletic performance and of course heat training to simulate Kona conditions.

So the big news is that IRONMAN 70.3 World Champs is being held in your hometown, Port Elizabeth! How do you feel about that, it’s quite a historic moment for the city?

It is absolutely a historic event, very exciting for Port Elizabeth to be featured on the world stage. I know that foreigners will be blown away with what Port Elizabeth has to offer.

It may come as a shock to some people, but you will not be racing at IRONMAN 70.3 World Champs in PE?

Every person that is going to Worlds has to qualify, so they need to be the top 2 in their age group and for Pro’s is no different. It was not a choice for me to sit out; I had planned to qualify for Worlds in January at IRONMAN 70.3 East London, however I had an unforeseen injury and could not even start the race, which put my entire plan out. I had to continue with the plan set out at the beginning of the year with my coach and adding another 70.3 race before the qualifying cut off date for Pro’s did not fit with my fitness or schedule. I don’t think there is any competitive advantage against athletes who have come from an ITU speed distance and Olympic background. IRONMAN full distance is my strength and I have to manage my strengths for a successful career.

So where to next on your travels?

Tomorrow we head back to Arizona for heat training leading up to Kona. I will also be doing a tune up race at IRONMAN 70.3 Santa Cruz in California on September 9 which is 5 weeks out from Kona.

What’s your next big focus competition wise?

This will be the full distance IRONMAN World Champs in Kona (October), it is generally my top focus after Ironman South Africa. Most top competitive athletes have the same goal in mind as you not only get to race against other top competition but also in unforgiving, extreme elements.

Thanks for your time Kyle, we will definitely be following your social media channels to see where your training takes you next!

Thanks guys and good luck to everyone competing this weekend in Port Elizabeth!


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