Tri trio shine in US | SASCOC - SASCOC

Tri trio shine in US

By Mark Etheridge

Two of our prospective Olympic Games triathletes spoke on Monday after their fine performances in the ITU World Cup events in San Diego, United States.

Richard Murray, one of the finds of world triathlon in the last year, ended third at the weekend, after placing second in the opening event in Sydney last month.

And in the elite women’s race our Kate Roberts was 22nd and London based Gill Sanders was 34th.

Roberts had pretty much sealed her spot on the back of a great start to the lengthy qualification period, despite her slump in form for much of 2011. Sanders, meanwhile, gave up her legal job in London to turn fully professional in the build-up to London. She and Murray both won their elite divisons at African Championships in Mauritius earlier this year.

Murray clocked 1hr 49min 01sec for his third spot behind Britain’s Jonathan Brownlee and Switzerland’s Sven Riederer, 14 and nine seconds ahead of him respectively.

That was after a gruelling 1500 metres of swimming, 40 kilometres of cycling and 10km of running.

Speaking after his podium place Murray told Road to London 2012 his mind hadn’t been 100% focused. “My mind was drifting, not sure why! I tried to focus as much as I could though.

The right hand line on the swim was quicker than the left to I struck right and was fast to the first buoy but then I got hit on the first lap of the swim, I was holding about 50th until a Japanese guy started to hit me for 200m or so. I was forced to keep my line and swam till about 60th and got on to the bike about 50th after a good transition.

“The bike wasn’t too good and we were about 50sec down on the lead group after lap one. After the fifth lap we were about 10sec down and myself and a few athletes closed the gap to the front group.”

Onto the run, which is Murray’s trump card of the three disciplines. “My legs weren’t feeling great but I managed to keep in contact with Jonathan on the run but he left me at 4km and I was cramping badly until 8km when Sven passed me. I was in a new world of hurt and cramp but through this I held onto my pace and managed third.. so first in the world series and in my own mind, first in the world!”

“I’m so blessed with my gift of running, cycling and more recently, swimming form. “Many thanks must go to a lot of unseen people who have helped me progresss in such a demanding sport. Support, coaching, advice, encouragement etc have all helped me and I must say thanks to everyone who has helped me get there. It makes it all so worthwhile when after all the hard training and hard racing you realise that you CAN feature in an international event.”

Murray, who hails from Cape Town, now has two events over the next two weekends, in Dunkirk, France (a sprint race) and then a World Series race in Madrid, Spain although he may skip the latter once he has had time to re-assess.

The women’s race was won by Britain’s Helen Jenkins in 1:58:21 with Roberts clocking 2:02:31 and Sanders timed at 2:04:08. On the current rankings she looks like joining Roberts in London in two months time.

Talking to Road to London 2012 she opted to give credit to her countryman first: “What another cracker of a race for Richard, so awesome… the man is on fire.

“My own race was a little disappointing. I had a shocker of a swim.The swim start was a bit controversial as the whole right hand side of the beach start was a lot shallowing and those girls were at a distinct advantage as they were able to run into the water much further and gain about 30m or so.

“I was unfortunately in the middle and then ended up having a total shocker of a swim. I managed to redeem myself with the 10th fastest run of the day, getting myself a 34min something 10km but by then it was all a bit too late. I’ve fulfilled SASCOC’s qualification criteria thus far and with one more qualification race left, so just have to make sure I hang in there and defend my position!”

Triathlon’s cut-off for the Games is at the end of May.