11th February 2009

Midweek Speak: Richard Buck


11 February 2009

Although he didn’t get the opportunity to sink his running spikes into the track at Beijing’s Bird’s Nest Stadium, the Olympic experience made a significant imprint on men’s 4x400m squad member Richard Buck. So much so, that he has started 2009 more motivated than ever before.

“I didn’t get the chance to race in Beijing. But it was still a fantastic experience.” said the 22 year old City of York athlete.  “To be at the warm-up track, in the village and to see all those world class performances was hugely inspirational.

“When I came home it really brought home how much Team GB had meant. People here had lived it, just as we had. I found it really motivated me. I took ten days off to get my head round it and then was straight back into training.”

The inspirational effect Beijing brought to his training has been reflected in the 400m runner’s first two competitions of 2009. At the Aviva International in Glasgow on 31 January he opened with a solid second place finish in 47.29secs, seven days later he improved to 46.61 as he won in Stuttgart.

The time was 0.09secs inside the qualifying guideline for March’s European Indoor Championships and placed him fourth on the continent’s ranking list. But it is still 0.27 short of the indoor PB he set last winter, meaning there is still room for improvement as the winter season moves closer towards its main event in Turin, Italy on 6-8 March.

“I’m pleased I got the standard before the trials, it means I can go to the UK Championships and just concentrate on racing.” He said, looking forward to this weekend’s trials in Sheffield.

“I really want to be able to contest the medals in Turin. I’ve had a couple of years at senior level now and I really want to get to the point where I can really compete now. Every race I just feel I’m getting stronger and stronger. I haven’t raced since last summer, so I’m really enjoying it at the moment.”

He said, referring to a summer which was effected by an illness and meant he had to return home early from June’s European Cup in Annecy. “I caught some sort of gastric bug and it knocked me out for about three weeks. I tried to come back for the (Olympic) trials, but I was playing catch-up and had lost too much training. They still took me to the Olympics, which I was really grateful for.”

In Beijing he looked on as team-mate Martyn Rooney finished 6th in the men’s 400m final and the 4x400m team placed 4th. “I came through the junior ranks with Martyn and seeing him run so well really gave me a lot of motivation.

“He is someone who has put in a lot of hard work and now is getting the results. If you get a two year clear run being injury-free and work hard, then you can achieve.  I think there are a group of British athletes who can break through at a high level in the coming years.” He said.

Buck’s experiences of the last 12 months have prompted an appropriate choice for his final year dissertation for his degree in Sports Coaching at Leeds Metropolitan University, it is entitled “Case Study in the Self Determination of Quarter Milers.” Just how determined one of GB’s brightest 400m talents actually is, could be seen in the coming months.