Born in Preston and raised in Clitheroe, modern pentathlete Samantha Murray burst onto the international scene in 2012 when she helped the Great Britain team to European and world gold. Since then she has continued to carve out a name for herself, winning multiple world and European gold medals, including the individual title at the former in 2014. Samantha competed at the London 2012 Olympic Games, coming away with silver in the women’s event.
In the first of her monthly blogs, Sam looks back on her 2015 season and discusses her plans for the winter ahead.
After a very long season which saw a few ups and downs along the way, I’m busy gearing up for a big block of winter training. It’s good to get back into the swing of things as I had a few weeks off to recharge the batteries a bit.
It was my 26th birthday on September 25 so it was nice to celebrate that. I grew up in Clitheroe in Lancashire so I went back to the Ribble Valley to be with my friends and family for a meal. There’s nothing better than being around people you care about.
It had been a really busy year for me with competitions and training so time for relaxing was few and far between!
I won the Sarasota World Cup in Florida back in February so that was a good way to start the season and looking back was probably my best performance of the year.
The season runs from March to August so we pack a lot of competitions into a few months. I also moved house during that period too so it meant things were a bit hectic, with moving from one place to another and making sure all the training was ticked off. We then had the World Championships in late June in Berlin where I managed to finish fifth, which was a big disappointment for me because I had my eyes on finishing on the podium.
During my career I’ve managed to win six World Championships medals including individual gold last year. It was disappointing not to defend my title but I still managed to do enough to qualify a place for the team for the Rio 2016 Olympics having finished fifth and that was a big target I wanted to hit.
After that we had the European Championships on home soil a few weeks later in August. I suffered from illness and injuries in the run up to the event but I was desperate to do well in front of the home fans and put on a show. In the end I ended up finishing tenth but with my teammates Katy French and Freyja Prentice also performing well it was enough to help us take team gold. And after a very long season, it definitely meant a lot to me to get my hands on that medal.
The Great Britain modern pentathlon performance centre in based at the University of Bath where the European Championships were taking place so to do so well on our doorstep was special. Now it’s all about focussing on next season and making sure I am in the best possible shape for that.
My performances at the World Championships were disappointing for me personally but I’ve tried to identify the reasons behind why I didn’t perform as I wanted to. It’s up to me then to go into training and make some alterations. But I can take a lot of confidence that I was in the top five and not too far away from a podium position.
The Rio 2016 Olympic Games are edging ever closer and I would love to improve on my silver medal from the Games in London three years ago. This time it will obviously be very different and we will be going to the other side of the world. But having gained more experience over the course of the last few years, I’d like to think I’m better equipped to deal with the challenges of competing far away and in a different culture.
There’s a lot of work to do before I can even start thinking properly about the Rio 2016 Olympics though, starting with next season and building towards the World Championships in Moscow at the end of May.
All in all, it’s shaping up to be a busy winter of preparation and training.
Don’t forget to tune back in next month as Sam explains how to keep training fun and interesting through the winter.