HARVEST- Compared to most triathletes John Murray, Jr. is more or less a beginner in the world of triathlon. After all, he’s only been competing in the Tri-Skill Competition for 18 months, but has already stood out for being among the best in his age group.
Sparkman’s junior, 16, spends much of his free time playing the trombone for the school marching band and has found time to dive head first into the sport of triathlons and duathlons. In May, Murray competed at the US National Duathlon Triathlon Championships and finished fourth in the 15-19 age group of men with a time of 1 hour, 17 minutes and 53 seconds in the event. in duathlon, which earned him USA All-American status. to finish among the top 10.
“The heat index was up to 105 degrees, so I decided to pace myself in the first of two racing events to save my energy for the second round of the event following the bike race,” said Murray on his performance in the title. event organized in Tuscaloosa. “The bike ride was fun because the course had a hill. In the second run, I was hot and tired. As I got to the last tenth of a mile, I sprinted to the finish line. The run was pretty along the nearby waterway.
The National Championships were held in the Tennessee River Walk along the Black Warrior River. The event featured a 5K race, a 16 mile bike race ending with a second 2 mile race. Overall, there were over 200 participants in the race, 10 of them in the age group Murray competed in as he was one of the youngest in his division.
John and Ingrid Murray’s son didn’t begin his quest for greatness in the sport until March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning. The father of one of his best friends, William Davidson, who attends James Clemens High School and is part of the school’s cross country team, was competing in a triathlon and the two friends agreed to start s train in sports in the streets of their neighborhood. Murray quickly joined the local cycling club and began weekly bike rides of at least 80 miles. Murray added, “I have a home trainer and I plug my bike into the device and I am able to ride even more indoors. For my swim training, I go to the Madison Hospital Wellness Center about once a week for no less than 1000 meters of training.
Murray also competes in the 5K and 10K races and just won his age group at the 2021 Cotton Row Run in Huntsville. When the weather permits, he also attends bike races as part of the Southern Velo Cycling team. The 100-member organization is based near Chattanooga, Tenn. When it comes to triathlons, the 5-foot-8, 120-pounder has competed in seven three-skill races and enjoys the competitiveness of each of the triathlon and duathlon races. Sporting events are a far cry from the sports of baseball and flag football that he played before, and with his recent success in his new sport of choice, his continued training and possible additional successes will take him to heights he has never been able to achieve. would never have dreamed of.
His path to success has included pitfalls like the one he suffered on June 13 in Panama City, Florida. While on a bike ride, he hit thick sand and collapsed to the ground, injuring his side and hip. The recovery lasted three weeks.
“I’m happy with my overall racing experience at Tuscaloosa and know I could have done better,” said Murray who has a 4.0 GPA. “I plan to go back next year and be faster.”
Murray is a two-time All-District horn player for the band Sparkman. With the addition of athletic recognition, he feels confident in whatever he puts forth his efforts.