RICHARD BUCK won a race against time to compete at the Sainsbury’s British Athletics Championships and the York runner is not counting out an appearance in the final after negotiating his 400 metres heat.
Buck, 27, tore his hamstring at the BUCS Outdoor Athletics Championships in May but has barely missed a step since – and that showed tonight as he finished second to qualify for a place in Saturday’s semi-finals.
Buck cantered home behind Michael Bingham in a time of 47.11 seconds, but with another two rounds yet to go, he admits this weekend in Birmingham will be a true test of his fitness.
“I’ve had quite a long day so I’m just glad to get that one done and under my belt,” said City of York Athletic Club’s Buck, who hopes to compete throughout the Summer Series – events proudly backed by long-term supporter Sainsbury’s.”
“I just wanted to go really easy to see where I was. After seeing the replay I probably did come back a bit stronger than I needed to.
"I haven’t necessarily got any specific targets like I usually would do, only because I’m coming back from an injury.
“My form’s coming back nicely though I’m not sure how three rounds are going to go just yet. But I’m really hopeful as I’m running well off training and racing, hopefully I’ll adapt really quick. I’d like to be in the final and pushing towards the top end as always, but we’ll see how it goes.”
Buck’s remarkably quick return from injury started in Prague on June 9, clocking 46.48 seconds before going three tenths faster in Geneva a week later.
And he insists beating his personal best of 45.61 is a realistic aim for the rest of the season.
“With 80 metres to go I saw a couple of guys up front and thought there’s no point making it close. I gave myself a bit of breathing space to make it safe,” he added.
“I felt great coming in, my last race was 46.1 in Geneva and that’s not particularly far off where I’d have expected to be at this point in the season.
“I was only half a second down on my lifetime best and it’s been a month since I’ve been back. I’m in good shape and as the season goes on I’ll get in better shape.”
* Sainsbury’s is proud to support British Athletics through the Summer Series events and committed to helping young people lead healthier, more active lifestyles. For more information visit www.sainsburys.co.uk/legacy