On Saturday, Olympic triathlete Richard Murray of South Africa ran a solo 10K time trial in a blazing-fast time of 28:04. This is not only the 13th-fastest time of 2020, but it’s also the third best in South African history. The run is unofficial, so Murray’s name won’t be added to any record books, but if he ever chooses to drop the swim and the bike and focus solely on running, it looks like he would have a good shot at officially breaking some South African records.
Running in the Netherlands, Murray had the perfect course for a flat and fast 10K time trial. The weather was not on his side, though, and he had to endure heavy winds throughout the run. In a YouTube video documenting his time trial, Murray said he hoped to run 2:48 per kilometre for the two-lap 10K course, and he ended up hitting that pace goal right on. Later in the video, Murray’s wife and fellow Olympic triathlete Rachel Klamer said she wasn’t sure if her husband would be able to meet his low-28 goal, but she added that if he did, she would encourage him to “go and train for it properly” next year after they race at the Tokyo Olympics to see if he could break 28 minutes.
His 10K time puts him just outside the top-10 for 2020, and he’s impressively close to that 28-minute barrier. With the result, he only trails compatriots Shadrack Hoff (who has a 27:50 PB) and national record-holder Stephen Mokoka (PB of 27:38) on the all-time list of South Africans. Mokoka’s 10K time is much faster than Murray’s new PB, but if Murray put in dedicated run training like Klamer suggested, he could certainly challenge that South African record.
This is not Murray’s first noteworthy solo time trial result. Earlier in October, he rode his bike for a two-hour workout and immediately followed it up with a mile PB of 4:05, and in May, he ran a 5K PB of 13:48. Had the 5K run been in an official race, it would be good enough for second all-time among South Africans, and Murray would once again be behind Hoff, who owns the national record of 13:30.
At the Rio Games in 2016, Murray ran his way through the field after the swim and bike legs, posting a 30:34 10K for the fastest run split of the day and a fourth-place finish. He is routinely among the top finishers in World Triathlon Series events, and while he’ll have his eyes on a podium result in Tokyo next summer, we’re more eager to see how quickly he can run after a run-specific training block.