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Murray’s the man in Edmonton as Sullwald seals sixth
- Updated: September 8, 2015
By Mark Etheridge
Right now Richard Murray is on top of the world after his second World Triathlon Series victory at the weekend.
The multi-talented Cape Town athlete won the Edmonton leg of the WTS circuit in Canada.
That came just weeks after he had placed third in the Rio Olympics test event in Brazil. So not only is Murray fine-tuning his Olympic build-up, he sure is on song!
Murray beat a host of global stars to the podium’s premier spot as he clocked 53min 19sec for the 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run.
Spanish duo Javier Gomez and Mario Mola were second (53.23 and 53:34 respectively) and rising French star Vincent Luis fourth in 53:39.
And there was more good news for SA triathlon as former world junior champion Wian Sullwald shook off a recent spell of poor health to 53:43 and take sixth.
Murray was just 29sec down in the swim, his weakest leg but the bike leg saw him just 11 seconds off the top cyclist as Sullwald had a great bike to be within one second of the quickest time.
Once again Murray took to the run like a bee to pollen and his 15:11 was the fastest of the day with Sullwald once again coming to the party with a fine 15:34.
Murray told Road to Rio 2016 as he was in transit to Chicago for the ITU Grand Final. ‘This race was worth every mile swum, cycled and run over the past three years! My last win was WTS Hamburg in Germany before I qualified for London and I’m super happy to take that top step.
‘It’s felt like a life time and the emotions I felt when I realised that I had beaten everyone, in seven degree temperatures with rain and plenty of pain was such a sweet victory.
‘With four weeks of training at altitude and a lot of very hard work, it paid off finally! I planned to race less this year and I’m sure this assisted with freshness and the fact that I was feeling hungry for the win!’
Murray’s win moves him up to third spot in the ITU Olympic Qualification List behind Gomez and Mola and ahead of Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee.
Sullwald (Tuks/HPC) was an emotional top-10 finisher. ‘It has been a terribly hard season for me. Because of health issues I kept being “knocked down’ time and again. No matter how hard I trained and what I did to try and stay healthy, nothing seemed to work.
‘To be able, at long last, to finish sixth in a World Series race is just amazing. It was certainly one of my best performances to date. It proved to me that it is possible to turn things around if you continue to put in the long hard hours and not allow yourself to become despondent,’ said Sullwald.
Sullwald admitted that the weather conditions made him slightly worried before the start of the race.
‘I think the maximum temperature was something like 10 degrees and, to make matters even worse, it rained as well. The only way I was able to keep myself motivated was to promise myself that I would finish quickly so that I would not have to be exposed to the cold and pain for much longer than 50 minutes.
‘My swim was a nightmare and it was not only because of the freezing water. Because I arrived in Edmonton with a slight cold, I battled to breathe properly. To make matters worse there was a lot of “fighting|” in the water, which resulted in a slight panic attack that prevented me from staying in contact with the race leaders.
‘When I got onto my bike I was feeling terrible. It felt as if someone was choking me, but luckily I managed to calm down. The group I was riding with caught up with the leaders after three laps. From then on it was just a matter of staying focused and not making any silly mistakes. The cold weather made it difficult to brake and change gears. In the changeover from the bike to the run I took things slightly easier to give myself time to regain my composure.
‘I knew that Richard would go out hard on the run so I just made sure that I stayed with him for as long as I could. In the end I had to slow down slightly because Richard had no intentions of letting anybody catch up or pass him,’ he said.
The women’s elite race would have seen Commonwealth Games team silver medallist Gillian Sanders pretty happy with her day’s work.
She was in doubt in the build-up after a calf injury but had a solid race to end 24th in 1:01:09 behind Britain’s Vicky Holland (58:55). Holland won the Cape Town leg of the WTS calendar in April.