“It was only halfway through the run that I realised what this would mean,” an ecstatic Murray said afterwards.
“Before the race I was a bit concerned. The water heated up and it meant no wet-suits. That can sometimes change the dynamics, but it was wonderful out there.”
South African Henri Schoeman led the swim, covering the 1.5km in 17:54 minutes with a four second advantage over England’s Olympic Bronze and gold medalists Jonny and Alistair Brownlee.
The brothers pulled an additional six swimmers into the lead group, which had 20 seconds’ advantage at the beginning of the 40 kilometre cycle.
“The start was pretty rough, but I managed to get through to the front at the end of the swim and tried to create a bit of a gap for a breakaway,” said Schoeman, who skidded into a barrier in the first lap of the cycle leg.
“My brakes locked up. I’m lucky to have been upright. Without that it could have been much better.”
Murray posted the sixth fastest bike time to come through in fifth place as he entered into the 10km run.
“On the bike I knew that first and second was probably out of the question, because it started to become tactical,” Murray said.
“I positioned myself right on the bike and made sure no one got away. It came down to the run and I knew third was possible for me and I just had to avoid injury or cramp.”
It was older brother Alistair who again added gold to the collection in 1:48:50, with Jonny settling for silver only eleven seconds later.
Although Schoeman’s bike incident cost time, he was able to continue, going into the run in 18th position and moving up to finish 16th in 1:53:46.
Neither Schoeman’s brush with the barrier, nor Kate Roberts’ entanglement with the Canadian in the morning’s women’s race have any lasting impact and coach Lindsay Parry is confident the team can still bag two medals.
“Kate’s fine. We’re still not exactly clear how it happened but no damage done,” said Parry.
“We came here for two medals. Richard’s got the first now and so I’m sure we can get the second in the team relay on Saturday.”
“The body’s feeling good. I had a good break about a week and a half ago when I took three or four days off and that helped quite a bit.”
“This is about my 14th race this year and I’ve got six more to do this year, so I’m looking forward to finishing high in the World Series. I think a top three is possible.”