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Murray makes merry again

Richard Murray is rapidly making a name for himself in multi-sport events and has now added the national Under-23 duathlon title to his South African Under-23 triathlon and Africa Under-23 triathlon titles after winning at a chilly Bloemfontein.

In temperatures that started at just above freezing point at the start of the 10km run, 40km cycle and 5km run combination.

The defending Elite men’s champion Brand Du Plessis and Murray were soon into their stride and setting a cracking pace in the 10-kilometre run leg made up of four laps of 2.5km over cross-country type terrain on the campus of the University of Bloemfontein.

Initially 1500m track specialist Johan Cronje ÔÇô who had entered the race as an experiment – ┬ástayed with them but once on the bike leg he fell back.

Cronje, Du Plessis and Murray came into the first transition together and set off on the bike. Gradually though, Murray’s strength on the bike began to tell as he started to pull away from Du Plessis, and Cronje was dropped, over the four laps of 10km bike leg. Murray’s achilles heel in the triathlon is the swim, but here in the duathlon his strength on the bike and run came through, especially as the event was a non-drafting race.

Du Plessis was not in the best shape coming into the race as he had been battling to shake a virus earlier in the year and lost valuable training. Murray needed an hour and 2 minutes (1:02:06) for the 40km cycle to Du Plessis’s 1:03:59.

Murray then flew over the final 5km run leg of the day, needing only 15:59 for the two-lap course to cross the line in 1:49:09 for the overall win and the Under-23 title. Du Plessis crossed the line just over three minutes later to retain his Elite Men title.

The women’s race was dominated by an in-form Kate Roberts who was out on her own virtually from the start of the 10km run, and the rest of the race proved to be a time trial for her.

No wonder though, as Roberts has really been in form of late, with a fourth place in Mooloolaba at the World Cup and a sixth place finish at the first leg of the World Championship Series in Sydney, as well as the Africa Championships (all in triathlon).

Roberts took 2:07:04 to complete the event.