After a major crash, extensive surgery and a seriously quick recovery that seemed almost impossible, no one thought that Richard Murray would be in contention for the podium at the recent ITU World Duathlon Champs held in Aviles, Spain.
Just eight weeks (to the day) after breaking his collarbone, Richard claimed top spot at the World Duathlon Champs. “I could not be happier not only with the title, but with the way my body responded. I am really stoked with my performance,” said Richard after finishing the event.
See below for the Q&A on Richard and a little bit of an insight on what makes him the great athlete that he is.
1. Having excelled by becoming the ITU World Duathlon Champion in Spain, what is your goal for Rio and how realistic is a medal?
I do believe my chance of winning a medal is pretty good.
2. What was your reaction when your qualification for Rio Olympics was confirmed and who was the first person you told?
I was pleased when I qualified by finishing third in the Rio Qualification Race, but I also knew that I would qualify with my ranking points. I shared it on Twitter first, so my followers knew first about my qualifying!
3. You are active on Twitter and Instagram and have a YouTube channel as well. What does @RD_Murrayoffer to his followers in terms of content such as images, inspirational thoughts, and training or racing tips etc?
I share a different kind of content. Not only do I share the usual run of the mill stuff, but also believe that some of my posts – like core exercises and swimming routines – are something my followers can use. I also reply pretty quickly, so anyone is welcome to send me a message with questions if they are looking for advice.
4. Besides competing, what else makes a major championship experience so special for an athlete like you?
Being in the Athletes Village is a very special experience. Sharing facilities with Olympic and World champions from various sporting codes is something unique. Not to mention representing my country. That is and always will be an honour and privilege.
5. You live in Durbanville – does the Cape offer all you need for training purposes or do you have to move around during the year to find the right climatic and other conditions?
I spend only three months at home during the year and the rest of the time I travel the world following the good weather! But when I am at home I love training in and around Durbanville.
6. Where you always an athlete – even in junior school?
I think the best way to describe it is that I was a “wild child” athlete before and now I am a fulltime professional athlete.
7. When did you know you had the ability to be a world-class athlete and make that your number one focus?
I think it was when I realised that cycling and running wise, I could compete with the best in the world. I also knew that if I worked on my swimming I could be a contender. It was when I was about 17 years old.
8. How come you are able to perform each year – what do you do to make this happen – tell us a bit about your daily/weekly training routine?
I do my planning for the coming season when I get home in December (my off time). It will be strategic planning and it also helps me to know what my focus areas are for the coming season. During the year I stay on top of the planning to make sure we make adjustments if needed.
9. What are your strengths, besides natural talent?
I think the fact that I can just keep going. Setbacks don’t get me down. Maybe also my South African background. As South Africans, we are fighters and hard workers because we know if we want to stand out in the world we need to be special.
10. Do any current athletes in any field inspire you – if so why?
I admire Ironman athletes a lot – maybe because it is something I look to do myself one day. I always look at what top athletes in various disciplines do and get ideas and inspiration from that.
11. What does being part of the PUMA family mean to you?
I have been part of the PUMA family for the past 6 years. I have grown with the brand as a person as well as an athlete. I appreciate the relaxed lifestyle and the vibe that the brand promotes. I have always had a good connection with PUMA and I work well with everyone involved.
12. Which running shoes do you train in?
The PUMA Faas 500.
13. Which shoes do you race in – what do you like about the Disc closure?
I race in the PUMA Speed 300S Disc. The disc interface is pretty cool. The ease with which you can put on the shoes and make adjustments is amazing, making it even more perfect for the transition areas!
Since he underwent surgery, had a plate put in his arm, as well as screws to fix the breaks in his shoulder, Richard has been working extremely hard at getting back to top racing form. He has been running and cycling without any problems which is why he decided to take part in his first duathlon event since 2010!
Well done Richard! You have flown the South African flag high!