By Alec Hogg
This has been quite a week for South African athletes, with a number of new names bursting into the national consciousness. Yesterday was the turn of Kyle Buckingham, a professional Iron Man from Port Elizabeth, who travels the world competing in this ultimate test of physical endurance – a 3.8km swim followed by a 180km cycle and then running 42km.
After eight and a quarter hours of endeavour, Kyle came home three minutes clear in the 2018 Standard Bank Iron Man Africa event which is part of the European circuit. Ranked 8th in the world last year, yesterday was the biggest win of Buckingham’s career and his third victory in a major international event.
I got the inside track into this super athlete’s punishing routine and incredible commitment from his mother Carrie at our niece’s wedding in Hilton three weeks ago. Kyle was forced to miss his cousin’s happy day because of a race in the Philippines. No hard feelings from the bride – I’m sure she was among those cheering loudest yesterday.
Our niece’s big day was remarkable for another reason. In weddings past, I recall those who travelled from abroad being thanked by name. No longer. Fully two thirds of the guests at the Hilton wedding, mostly young professionals, had flown in from outside the country. Such is the reality of the South African diaspora.