By Mark Etheridge
London Olympian Richard Murray improved on his fifth spot at Cape Town’s World Triathlon Series race in Cape Town last month with a third-placed podium finish in Yokohama, Japan on Saturday.
Up front Javier Gomez won his third straight event of the season as he outsprinted Murray’s training partner Mario Mola to make it a Spanish 1-2.
Gomez clocked 1hr 45min 31sec for the 1500-metre swim, 40km bike and 10km run, and him and Mola were credited with the same time.
Murray was 29sec back to take bronze but had the satisfaction of beating the London Olympics medal-winning brothers of Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee into fourth and fifth spots.
Murray told the official triathlon website: ÔÇ£Its been coming a long time, the last time I was on the podium was just before the Olympic Games, it has been a long time for me, I have had a lot of fifth places which I am currently sick of now and I don’t want to settle for anything less.
“There was a crash with two laps to go, I was almost in it, the guy was on my right, there were two crashes and I managed to escape that. I have only run twice now with the Brownlees from the start of the race and I have managed to take both of them so I am real stoked, I think it was a good entertaining race today.ÔÇØ
Murray said his move on the second lap was a planned effort. ÔÇ£The legs were feeling good and I didn’t want to be the follower today I want to be the one giving it a go, I don’t want to follow and get broken. I put two moves in on the run and couldn’t get away from them, the Spanish guys… their surging skills are very very good.
“From about halfway through the second lap we were surging each other for the rest of the race. I think after about the 6th surge my hamstring started to go and on the last lap Javi started to go and I just couldn’t respond.
“I tried to stay with him as long as I can, if you look at the footage I was in the biggest hurt locker ever on the last 2k. They managed to get a small gap but third place I am super super stoked with it.ÔÇØ
Murray’s countryman and African champion Henri Schoeman had a strong swim and was just under a minute up on Murray but lost that advantage on the bike and with Murray’s strongest suit being the run, that was that.
Murray dipped under 30min for the run while Schoeman clocked in at 33:35 for 27th spot in 1:49:40.
For former world junior champion Wian Sullwald there was disappointment after the elation of his debut World Cup win in China last weekend.
He failed to build on a decent swim and didn’t complete the bike leg, although in his defence was the fact that he could feel the beginnings of a respiratory problem in the days leading up to the race.
Meanwhile, our London Olympian Gillian Sanders, had a solid race to finish 10th as America’s Gwen Jorgensen blasted to victory in 1:58:36 with another great run leg, this time in 33:43.
Sanders, more on her in a later story, had a good run of 35:14, to end with a time 20sec outside the 2hr barrier.
Murray now lies fifth in the WTS rankings and Sanders is top-placed South African in 18th spot.