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Buckingham and Mann top Challenge St. Polten

Photo by: Challenge Family

While there’s been a half-distance race in St. Polten, Austria for 15 years, this year’s edition was just the second as part of the Challenge-Family series. The day saw Germany’s Nicholas Mann take his first pro win, while Great Britain’s Lucy Buckingham backed up her third-place finish at The Championship the weekend before to take a close women’s race.

Photo: Challenge Family

Mann was almost two minutes down after the swim, but he managed to bridge up to Nils Frommhold (GER) before pulling clear on the Gansbach climb and leading into T2 by 1:35. He never looked back as he took the win in 3:45:17. Aussie Caleb Noble ran his way to second (3:48:13) while Austria’s Lukas Hollaus (3:48:57) rounded out the podium.

Buckingham hangs on

It was hardly a surprise to see 2012 Olympian Buckingham (nee Hall) lead the way out of the water, and she continued to open up time on the rest of the women through the bike, hitting T2 with a lead of just under seven minutes over Australia’s Grace Thek. Thek charged towards the front thanks to a 1:16:35 half-marathon split to make the race exciting, and things got even more interesting when Buckingham had to serve a 30-second stand down penalty on the run course for a blocking penalty she incurred while trying to get past a group of men early on in the bike. Buckingham would cross the line for a start-to-finish win in 4:15:48 with Thek taking second 41 seconds later. Poland’s Aleksandra Jedrezejewska ran her way to third in 4:24:23.