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SA’s Richard Murray incredible start to the year continued when he claimed the inaugural Super League Triathlon title on the weekend, which took place on the spectacular Hamilton Island, Australia – and scooped the $100,000 prize purse in the process.
About Super League Triathlon
Super League Triathlon is a new and unique event to hit the triathlon world stage. Hamilton Island was the first event hosted, with many more to come across the globe. Taking place over three days, the concept is not a traditional triathlon in that it takes the swim – bike – run format but mixes things up. The first event “the Triple Mix”, comprising three segments of a Swim-Bike-Run, following by a Run-Bike-Swim and then a Bike-Swim-Run. Saturday’s second event – the Equalizer – comprised two parts; an Individual Cycling Time Trial and then later in the day, a Swim-Run-Swim-Bike-Run. Sunday’s third event was the Eliminator which was a traditional Swim-Bike-Run format but comprised three races, with the last five athletes to cross the line in the first two races, eliminated. The final race of the day was full-gas racing from the whittled down field.
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How the racing unfolded
Winning both the first two stages, Murray started day three of Super League Triathlon as the clear favourite to be crowned the overall winner. As long as he finished seventh or better the victory, and prize purse, would be his, but first he had to survive the Eliminator.
Murray raced smartly in the first two stages, remaining well within the front pack but did not push the pace. In what had been a relatively quiet week for Rio bronze medallist Henri Schoeman, Murray’s countryman, came out to play early on the bike leg of stage two and pushed the pace, but once again Murray raced tactically, keeping some gas in the tank. In the final leg, he held on to finish third, claiming the overall victory in the process.
His third-place finish in Eliminator, together with his victories in Triple Mix and Equalizer, meant Murray amassed a total of 56 out of 60 points across the three days of racing to take home $100,000 and the Leonid Boguslavsky Champions Trophy as the overall winner of Super League Hamilton Island.
The top three finishers of the Eliminator also made up the overall podium finishers with Spain’s Mario Mola in second place (49 points) taking home a cheque for $50,000 and Australian Jake Birtwhistle with third place overall (48 points) and receiving $30,000.
“It was crazy racing in the most beautiful environment. Winning the inaugural event was special. I felt in control on Friday, felt strong on Saturday and happy with two wins from two days. Today I started to hurt. I was a bit worried about my Achilles, but I knew exactly what I had to do to win and I focused on getting the job done. I could not be happier with how it played out. I am a happy man. I won the most amazing race I have participated in thus far in my career and I could not be more stoked,” said Murray.
Murray is having a stellar season so far, having won the Discovery Triathlon World Cup race in Cape Town as well as Xterra South Africa earlier this year. His next race is WTS Gold Coast on 19 April, where he crashed on the bike last year leaving him with a broken clavicle and two broken metacarpals in his hand. Quite the comeback!