Buckingham rolls back years in Towpath 10k series
Alan Buckingham has hardly put a foot wrong this year so it was no surprise when he clinched overall victory in the Towpath 10k series.
Eight years after he last took the championship in the Bristol race – held on the footpaths lining the banks of the River Avon – Buckingham showed the advancing years have not slowed him at all.
Indeed, it is quite the opposite as the Team Bath AC runner dominated the series, winning all four races that he contested – three over 10k and the final race last Friday over 5k – to secure victory ahead of the Bristol & West AC pair of Pete Woodward and Andrew Cooke.
"I am really quite pleased to win the series eight years after I first won it," said Buckingham.
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"The Towpath race was only my second-ever race and when I won it I received a nice engraved piece of glass. Sadly, I broke that in an accident so I wanted to do the series for old time's sake and win myself a new glass."
It proved to be a tough series, less due to his rivals and more because of the conditions which were anything but summer-like for the monthly Friday evening races.
"The conditions this year were horrendous," added Buckingham. "For the first race large parts of the towpath were two or three inches deep in water and if you tried to avoid the puddles you just ran into the mud on the banks.
"Every time I raced there it was the same and it was a very different experience from normal. The course actually is quite quick."
The Towpath success comes at the end of a year in which Buckingham has set personal bests at 5k (15mins 57secs), 10k (32:42), half marathon (72:34) and the marathon (2hrs 34:00) to make him arguably the club's most improved long-distance runner.
But he admitted: "I feel like my batteries are wearing down now.
"I need to recuperate and then begin my build-up for the London Marathon next year, when the aim will be to try and run under 2hrs 30mins. That's my target and that would put me into the top couple of veteran over-40 runners in the country."
Team Bath sprinter William Kennedy produced a sparkling performance to end his season with three personal bests at Sunday's Yate & District AC Sprints & Hurdles Festival.
The 14-year-old, who is coached by Colin Baross, clocked a personal best of 11.27secs in the 100m. Kennedy has run quicker but those marks, topped by 11.05 in the semi-finals of the England Championships, have all been wind-assisted beyond the legal limit.
Kennedy's time on Sunday was helped by a following wind of 0.8mps, well inside the limit, and eclipsed both the hand-timed best of 11.3 he set when winning the Wiltshire Schools' title in June and his previous electronic best of 11.32 in the heats of the England Championships.
He also ran a big personal best of 22.69 in the 200m, carving 0.21 seconds off his PB, plus a new best time of 36.60 for the rarely-run 300m.
Training partner Owen Harnett, 14, also ran a PB of 23.4 in the 200m and a swift 11.73 in the 100m.
There were also PBs for Eliot Green in the 200m (24.71) and 400m (53.45), George Chapman in the 200m (24.16) and 400m (51.96), Eliza Reid in the 300m (41.72) and Samantha Cox in the 100m (14.65).
Team Bath AC will be staging an open meeting for minors at the University of Bath on Sunday. For further details contact Di Viles at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The North Somerset road relays, incorporating the Avon AA Championships, take place from the Hand Stadium, Clevedon, on Sunday.
Organised by Clevedon AC, the race comprises 5x5k for senior men and 4x5k for women, with the action starting at 2.30pm. Visit www.clevedonac.co.uk for more details.
The Avon Championships will again be incorporated into the Oldbury Power Station ten-mile road race on Sunday, September 16.
Entries should be submitted by post or online at www. abian4.co.uk and for further information see www.thornburyrunningclub.co.uk.