Murray motors to silver | SASCOC - SASCOC

Murray motors to silver

By Mark Etheridge

South Africa’s Richard Murray has raced to the finest finish of his burgeoning triathlon career, placing second in the opening World Triathlon Series race of the year in Sydney, Australia on Saturday.

Cape Town’s Murray missed out on gold by just nine seconds as Germany’s Steffen Justus took race honours in 1hr min 51min 04sec.

It was Justus’ first WTS victory and he pulled clear of Murray and Laurent Vidal of France on the final lap. Murray clocked 1:51:13 for the three-code race of a 1500 metre swim, 40km cycle and 10km run.

It’s the best ever WTS win by a South African, eclipsing Murray’s silver spot in the World Cup race in Huatulco, Mexico late last year.

Murray, who is a man on a mission as he looks to London and the Olympics later this year, has never been up against a field of this class but he showed some class of his own. He’s already bagged the continental slot after winning the Africa Championships in Mauritius last year and this silver must all but seal his spot in Team SA at the Games.

Coming off a running and biking background, it showed in Murray’s splits as he wasn’t too far off in the swim (18:23) and his bike of 1hr 15min was in the top five of the day and his blistering run of 30:53 was second quickest on the day, only three seconds behind Justus.

A jubilant Murray spoke to Road to London 2012, shortly after his silver-lined day. “Well this was definitely my breakthrough event/ race and I believed from the bike that things would turn out to be an amazing race for me… a non-wetsuit race made it a bit hard in the water, and I exited about 60th position ÔÇô around 50sec behind the leaders.

“Luckily on the bike we worked well together and managed to close the gap on the lead bunch and then we rode together in a pack till the run. The bike was quite scary as many people really don’t have much bike skill!

“Then on the run I was unsure how my legs would go, but I was soon in the third spot closing down James Elvery and Ivan VIsiliev. I was in true ‘zone’ with 3-4km to go and I managed to hold it together and surge in the last 1km to stay ahead of Laurent Vidal to claim that second and the biggest victory of my carreer.

“The first African to stand on the ITU world series podium ÔÇô sure means a lot to me. Now I must go shopping for a collar-shirt for the big party later today…. ”

Murrays’ next big race will be the ITU World Series event in San Diego, California.

In the women’s race our Gill Sanders, like Murray the continental champion, didn’t have the best of days, placing 35th in another top class field. But she was still the first of the three South African women doing duty.

Sanders clocked 2:04:13 in a race won by Australian Erin Dunsham in 2:01:29.

“My race was OK, and I was first ‘Saffa’, 35th overall, but not the result I was hoping for,” Sanders told Road to London 2012. “I just felt flat on the run! I must say though that Richard had an awesome race.”

The two other South Africans were Kate Roberts, based for a fair part of each year in Australian, and All Africa Games champion Carlyn Fischer. Roberts struggled for much of last year but is slowly but surely getting back into the swing of things.

She placed 46th in 2:05:26 while Pretoria’s Fischer who had a top 10 finish in a World Cup event in Colombia last year, took 60th in 2:12:22.