Monday, June 27, 2016

Welland Interview: Murray Cass

In advance of my Welland Race Report, I wanted to post my athlete interview.

Featured participant: MURRAY

Q. Name, Age, One word to describe yourself?
A. Murray Cass. Age 61 (although my triathlon age is 62 apparently). I think the word would be stubborn. I'm sure my "friends" would choose a less printable word.

Q. How long have you been doing triathlons?
A. My first triathlon was in 2006. I did a kayak/bike/run because I could barely swim. Triathlon was my wife's idea. I had no interest. Triathlon seemed like a dumb thing to do. I just did as I was told.

Q. What was one highlight of today's event?
A. Well it was my first age group win. That was big, but more importantly I executed my race plan really well - a rarity for me. I am still a weak swimmer so I just tried to get through the swim. My cycling these days has not been up to par for some unknown reason. I actually have been training. So my plan was to just have a decent bike to set up a solid run. The forecast was for a hot day so I figured being small I would have an edge on the bigger guys in my age group. I left T2 about 10 minutes down and ended up winning by over 6 minutes. You might think that in the M60-64 age group competition would be easy. In triathlon competition is never easy.

Q. What did you eat for breakfast?
A. McDonald's hotcakes, hash browns and tea. I also had a bowl of fruit. My preference would have been bacon, eggs and toast, something I've been training with lately but it's hard to eat when you're not at home.

Q. What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you in a triathlon?
A. It must have been last year when I crossed the finish line at Ironman Copenhagen. Michelle Vesterby the top female shook my hand and asked whether I was ok. I thought i was fine so I casually said "yup." A couple seconds later I threw up. Just missed her.

Q. What did you think about on the bike today?
A. Great question. I was focusing over and over again and how bloody lucky I am to be able to compete in such a fun event. I've had a rough year with friends' and relatives' illnesses and I am just incredibly grateful for being able to swim, bike and run. All my complaints are so trivial.

Q. What is one thing you are proud of about yourself, either in triathlon or in the rest of life?
A. I do not have an athletic background. To me athletes are those other guys, the guys who lapped me - with a smile - on the track in gym class many years ago. I feel uncomfortable when anyone calls me an athlete. So I am quite proud that I can actually participate in triathlon. Having gotten through three brain tumour surgeries between 1982 and 2002 and being seriously injured while cycling when hit from behind by a drunk driver doing 100 km/hour back in 1976 makes it even more special. I consider myself extremely fortunate. A nice thing about triathlon is that, although the details of my history are unique, the theme is fairly common: people, often overcoming adversity, to extend themselves and accomplish what they never thought was possible. That makes for an interesting group.

Q. What/when is your next event?
A. I am registered to do Ironman Maastricht in the Netherlands. It's in five weeks so this was my last prep event.

Q. What do you like best about the MultiSport Canada race series?
A. The races are very well organized. John Salt is responsive and cares about the participants. (See. I can't use the word athletes.) Personally I like being greeted by John at the finish line. The new Welland Rose City course is one of the best I've raced on. Again, my wife's idea.

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