South Africa’s triathletes are a true force when they compete in international races. They proved it on 8 April 2017 when Richard Murray finished second, Henri Schoeman eighth and Wian Sullwald ninth at the World Series event held on the Australian Gold Coast.
This is the second time in the last eight weeks that all three athletes managed to race to a top ten finish in an international event. In February Murray won the World Cup race in Cape Town, Schoeman came second and was Sullwald third.
Murray is currently second in the World Series rankings, Schoeman fifth and Sullwald fourteenth.
Spain’s Mario Mola won on Saturday by outsprinting Murray by four seconds. His winning time for the 750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run was 52:35. Murray’s time was 52:39 with Fernando Alarza (Spain) finishing third in 52:44. Schoeman and Sullwald were both timed at 53:11. An indication of how competitive the race was is the fact that the first ten athletes were only separated by 39 seconds.
Murray compared the race to last year’s Rio Olympic Games.
“I gave everything I could and Mario was like a surging machine out there, like a car going in sports mode every twenty seconds! But I pushed as hard as I could and then I was on the rivet for maybe the last u-turn all the way back near transition and I stayed with him a few times,” said Murray.
Sullwald’s build up to the race was far from ideal. While preparing for the New Plymouth World Cup in the previous week he got a chest infection. To add to his frustration his bike and luggage went missing on his flight to the Gold Coast.
The TuksTriathlete only received his bike back three hours before the race and his suitcase after he had finished. Considering all his setbacks Sullwald is happy with the way his raced played out.
“I had a reasonably good swim. Unfortunately, I just missed the lead pack on the cycle leg which meant I had to chase hard. I had a slight respite when a chase group containing Richard (Murray) caught up with me. But as luck would have it a rider crashed in front of me. I just managed to miss him but in that one or two seconds, I got dropped which meant I was chasing again. Due to the chest infection, I had difficulty breathing and had to use an asthma-pump.
The Tuks-athlete admits that he made a few mistakes during his transition going into the run.
“I lost a few valuable seconds but as they say you have to learn from your mistakes.”