He was hoping for gold at the African Triathlon Championships, but after losing more than a minute on the leaders in a difficult swim Richard Murray is more than happy to take home the silver medal.
Henri Schoeman won the race held in Harare, Zimbabwe in 2 hours and 15 seconds. Murray was second in 2:01.49 and Wian Sullwalld took the bronze medal with a time of 2:02.26.
Murray had the fastest bike and run leg, but the time he lost on the swim leg cost him. Competing at high altitude was Murray’s Achilles heel on the day. “It was a case of survival due to lack of oxygen at 2100m elevation. My body was not happy after the first 400m and I struggled to get into any fast pace of swimming. I opted to go slow and to go into autopilot mode, which was not very fast seeing me more than a minute back off leader out the water.”
Panicking or giving up was not an option. “I decided to keep cool and finish the race as I travelled all the way from New Zealand for it.”
The conditions were cold in Harare. The bike leg was a 6.6km loop that was very hilly. Murray made up a handful of places with some strong cycling even though the circuit with all the climbs did not really suit him as one of the bigger athletes on the circuit. The run leg also had lots of climbs, but Murray found his running legs willing to suffer as always. “I felt good on the run, but being two minutes behind the leader at the start of the run on this kind of circuit, was too much to ask. Second place was a far sight off after the swim so I am pleased that I decided to keep going and see what I can do after such a dismal performance in the swim.”
According to Murray he was looking for a third title, but that he is willing to accept the second place. “The event was more suited to lighter athletes and at 2100m elevation it was difficult on the guys from sea level. I will be investing in an altitude tent for the years to come!” added Murray with a smile.
Next up is the ITU World Triathlon Series in Cape Town on Sunday 27 April. “It should be epic,” said an excited Murray who will spend the next two weeks in Stellenbosch.