Murray ready to rumble on Super League return
OLYMPIAN Richard Murray will be looking for Super League Triathlon victory this weekend as he prepares for what he expects to be a hard-fought second visit to Jersey.
Murray won the overall series last year after claiming victory in Hamilton Island and adding a second and a third in the two races on the Waterfront. The South African will no doubt look to claim victory in the event which eluded him in 2017, as preparations for Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Games begin to intensify.
Norwegian Kristian Blummenfelt won the Jersey leg 12 months ago, with Murray and Jonny Brownlee alternating bronze and silver over the two days.
‘It’s good to be back,’ said Murray.
‘Obviously we had a great race here last year, and with it being the first race of the Super League this year it’s super exciting. It is such a scenic place to be competing, and we get cool crowds and kids coming out to support so it’s a bit different to most races we go to.’
Murray took third in the 2018 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Gold Coast, Australia, earlier this month and will look to stay on good form going into this weekend’s races.
However, attracting international talent to the Island brings its problems.
Murray joked: ‘We decided to come back to Amsterdam [from Australia] to acclimatise, but you have to go through England to get here. It took us 12 hours to get here and Amsterdam’s not that far. It’s only over the water!’ This rings true, as travel has always been a difficult issue for many local athletes and visiting performers as well.
This weekend’s event is expected to be hotly contested, with the élite triathletes being joined by ten qualifiers in the men’s race, including Jersey’s Ollie Turner, who will be vying for one of five spots available for the rest of the series.
At the head of the pack Murray will be battling with the likes of Olympic bronze medallist and Commonwealth champion Henri Schoeman, ITU World Series champion Mario Mola and just one of the Brownlee brothers, to get their Super League campaign off to the best start possible. Jonny Brownlee returns, but double Olympic champion Alistair has been forced into a late withdrawal due to an Achilles injury.
‘A lot of people peaked about two weeks ago so they’re still all very fit, and there are different people competing,’ Murray explained.
‘With the shorter distance even the younger guys can feature. But it’s going to be a packed field, especially in the swim because it’s a very narrow course, so it will be very rough. We’ve run the course once before so we’ve got a bit of a footing going into this one.’
The Jersey event last year will also be remembered by the atrocious conditions on Day Two, but this year it looks set to be graced by sunshine. Either way, it is a far cry from the Gold Coast or South Africa, and this was not lost on Murray.
‘I obviously prefer warmer races coming from South Africa,’ he said.
‘This is pretty much our winter temperature, but whatever comes you’ve got to take it and go full on for it. It doesn’t change the mindset, a race is a race so you’ve got to give whatever you have.’