Murray takes Bronze in Hamburg Sprint

The WTS Hamburg triathlon saw much excitement as Cassandre Beaugrand (FRA) took a maiden WTS victory on France’s Bastille Day and Mario Mola (ESP) raked up a hatrick win on the 14th July. Many cheers were to be had as France also won the World Championship Mixed Team Relay the following day (the same day as France beat Croatia for Fifa World Cup victory in Russia). For South African fans, Richard Murray and Gillian Sanders were amid the pandemonium and festivity with two juniors, Ben De La Porte and Amber Schlebusch in the mix for the team relay.

The Elite men’s race saw Richard Murray round up the rostrum in third in a time of 53:32. Murray swam a 9:21, 27 seconds from the lead swimmers on the 750m single lap swim. Jonathan Brownlee (GBR), Vincent Luis (FRA) and Kristian Blummenfelt (NOR) kept the chase pack at a 22 second arm’s length in a breakaway on the six lap 21km bike leg. Murray cycled in the chase pack with among others, Mario Mola in a time of 29:16. Despite the breakaway group carrying strong runners, nothing was stopping Mola and Murray from tearing up the tarmac with some lightning fast running. Mola broke 14 minutes for a 5km run (13:59) and Murray finished 3rd behind Luis with a run split of 14:10.

In the ladies race, Gillian Sanders finish in 41st in a time of 1:01:27. Sanders completed the one lap swim (which incidentally runs under a dark tunnel) in a time of 10:20, some 5 seconds behind Australian, Ashleigh Gentle. The ladies took to the flat yet technical six-lap 21km bike course, Sanders completing the route in a time of 32:44. Sanders finished her race with a 5km run split of 17:30. After coming back from an accident, Sanders felt her speedwork was lacking, yet was happy with her performance given the training she had been able to put in prior to the race. Sanders claims that Hamburg is one of her favourite stops on the WTS calendar, as the supportive crowds and fast course make for an exciting racing experience.

The mixed team relay, which took place on 15th July, just one day after the Hamburg sprint triathlon was their first WTS start for juniors Amber Schlebusch and Ben De La Porte. Team South Africa placed 15th in a total time of 1:23:54. Deciding to let experience set the tone, Sanders raced the first leg of the relay, followed by Murray, Schlebusch and finally, De La Porte. Sanders completed her leg in 21:12. At the time of the handover, team SA was lying 12th. Murray completed the second leg in a time of 19:12, the 4th fastest split in his leg of the race. Next up, sixteen year old Schlebusch put in a gutsy effort of 22:46, swimming only 4 seconds slower than Cassandre Beaugrand of France. Running to the finish line was eighteen year old De La Porte, who completed his leg in a time of 20:39, swimming just 14 seconds slower than France’s Vincent Luis.