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Murray bags yet another podium place… in Grand Final

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By Mark Etheridge

Richard Murray raced to yet another podium position in the gruelling three-phase code in the Grand Final event in Chicago at the weekend… and by all accounts he’s investing in some timeshare on the podium.
Third in the Rio Olympics test event in Brazil a few weeks back then a first ever winner’s spot in Edmonton, Canada – now this. The Durbanville ace is right on top of this game.
Well almost, on this occasion it wasn’t his best day of competition but still good for the podium.
The London Olympian took bronze in Chicago with a time of 1hr 45min 35sec as Spanish duo Mario Mola and Javier Gomez took gold and silver in 1:44:53 and 1:44.57 respectively.
He told Road to Rio 2016: ‘’I was hoping to finish strong for the season, a first place in Edmonton was something so special and it doesn’t happen every day. But it happened two weeks before, and this helped both my rankings and chances of a top five finish in the series.
‘I’ve been working hard on the swim, but in this race things didn’t seem to work together and I ended up 1min behind on the bike with a lot of catch up work to do. This year was different to most and I pushed hard in the bike and really shouted and motivated the group to catch  and we did catch the front group with 10km to go.
‘From here on I sat in the bunch, but with my hip flexors cramping I knew it would be a painful run. I stayed near the front of the run in top seven position and the pushed with two kilometres to go till the finish. I managed to get away from the four guys I was running with and came third.’
Summing up his race and his year so far, he concluded: ‘I managed to pull off a podium position at the grand final… something I’ve never done, and I ended fourth in the world rankings for 2015. It’s been my best season so far, especially with also qualifying for Rio next year with my third place in the test event!’
Other South African in grand final action was Henri Schoeman who has had a topsy turvy season with good results offset by illness.
He ended 38th in 1:47:49.
‘After a great year I would’ve liked to finish the ITU season off on a better note,’ he told Road to Rio 2016. ‘But nothing worked for me during the race and lingering health issues didn’t make anything better.
‘I’m disappointed to drop out of the top 10 on the WTS ranking, but I have many results to look back on and be proud of. I’ll use this as motivation to be even stronger and faster next year.
‘I’ve got some training to do still and then a couple of races I have planned to do before I take my real break.
In the women’s race Gillian Sanders took 41st spot with a 2:01:44 finish. She’s also had her fair share of misfortune this year with a few mechanical issues on the bike as well as a calf muscle problem picked up while leaping over a dog while out training recently.
Women’s winner was American Gwen Jorgensen in 1:55:36 from British duo Non Stanford (1:56:05) and Vicky Holland (1:56:20), the last mentioned being winner of the Cape Town leg of the World Series in April.


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