Kent Richardson collapses at the finish line at the Aon National Sprint Championships. *Photo by James Burton
Kent Richardson collapses at the finish line at the Aon National Sprint Championships. *Photo by James Burton

Tucker Murphy, who will represent Bermuda at next month’s Commonwealth Games, won the men’s triathlon Aon National Sprint Championship at Clearwater on Sunday morning.

Murphy, 33, held off the evergreen Kent Richardson, 55, who led after the bike, to win the title for the first time and clock 1 hour seven minutes one second overall.

Richardson, who sunk to the floor in exhaustion after crossing the finish line, edged out Mark Robinson in a sprint finish for the line. The duo were separated by a second but were more than three minutes behind Murphy

In the women’s race, Karen Smith, 46, won in 1:12:04 and was fifth overall, with Laurie Orchard, 42, second and sixth overall, and Belinda Castree rounding off the podium.

For Murphy, it was an encouraging win, albeit one achieved in the absence of Tyler Butterfield and Jonathan Herring. It was, therefore, left to Richardson to push his younger competitor, especially during the 20km bike section that saw Richardson take the lead before Murphy stamped his authority all over the 5km run.

“I always have a hard time out there [leading] by myself ,” Murphy told the Bermuda Sun. “It’s hard to gauge how hard you’re pushing.

“I knew Kent was coming on strong [in the bike] and I felt that if he caught me I would try to work off him and not go too far back.

“I’m always confident in my run – you always have to be confident in something! And it’s the run for me. That said, though, you never know what’s going to happen on the day.”

He added: “This win builds confidence but there are a few guys that aren’t here today – Tyler Butterfield and Jon Herring – but it’s nice to feel like you’ve had a good race.”

Richardson, so dominant in his age-group category, said it was ‘emotional’ to place overall and credited his superb performance on the bike with giving him enough breathing space to hold off Robinson and fourth-placed Matt Thompson.

He told the Sun: “I’m really happy the way my swim went and I just thought, ‘if I could just catch Tucker and get ahead of him it would give me a buffer to hold off Matt and Mark' – because I know those boys would be coming.

“It was a little emotional – it was nice to place overall. Not taking anything for granted and it’s nice to place in age group, but it’s absolutely fantastic to place overall.

“I won’t get this many opportunities. Granted, some of the elite boys weren’t here – no Tyler, no Jonny – but having said that, this was the race and these were the people that showed up!”

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