Starting 2022 with victory over Haug at IRONMAN 70.3 Lanzarote only enhanced those expectations and she underlined her massive potential when splitting Ryf and Haug on the podium of the rescheduled IRONMAN World Championship in St George.
She then followed up by producing a sensational performance to clock 7:31:54 after replacing the injured Charles-Barclay in the much-hyped Sub7Sub8 Project in Germany in June 2022.
Kat is a former ETU European Champion over the middle distance and now has a pair of IRONMAN race victories to her name as well as two IRONMAN 70.3 titles since taking up triathlon in 2015.
Born in Exmouth in 1991, Matthews is employed by the Royal Army Medical Corps as a Physiotherapist Officer, but mixes that job with that of a professional triathlete thanks to the support of the British Army. Her initial foray into the sport consisted of amateur appearances over the Sprint and Olympic distances.
Kat is one of a select few triathletes who enjoyed instant success on the long-distance circuit, lifting the IRONMAN 70.3 Calgary title on debut in 2018 – she was the fastest in her category and the entire women’s field in the age-group only event.
Matthews’ strengths are on land, rating highly amongst her peers in the PTO World Rankings. Much of her focus now will be on continuing to improve her swim times to maximise the opportunity for huge wins.
Career record and results
After starting on the age-group circuit, Kat made her professional debut during the 2019 season with a third-place finish at IRONMAN 70.3 Staffordshire – in front of her were fellow Brits Lucy Charles-Barclay and Emma Pallant-Browne.
Matthews upgraded bronze to silver in her next outing, finishing behind India Lee at IRONMAN 70.3 Finland. In only her third Pro start, she won Gold at the ETU Middle Distance Triathlon European Championships in Târgu Mures, Romania.
Next up the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Nice, where Kat finished in a creditable 16th position in her debut season. A further bronze at 70.3 Weymouth was followed by her full-distance debut at IRONMAN Western Australia, where she finished fourth, breaking the nine-hour mark at her first attempt. The future was bright and it was a fine finish to an impressive introductory season in the Pro ranks.
In 2020, Kat was one of the few athletes who enjoyed a measure of consistent success during the global COVID-19 pandemic. She took her maiden middle-distance victory at 70.3 Tallinn – defeating the field by over five minutes – before doubling up by claiming the Outlaw Half title three weeks later.
Matthews completed her trifecta of triumphs with a maiden IRONMAN title in Florida. Leading a world-class field out of the water, she kept herself at the front of the field throughout the bike stage before unleashing a sub three-hour marathon for a course-record breaking victory, in a time of 8:40:50.
A seasonal debut fourth at Challenge Gran Canaria in 2021 was followed by a fine second-place finish at IRONMAN Tulsa behind four-time IRONMAN World Champion, Daniela Ryf.
On home soil later Matthews topped the podium at IRONMAN UK, 22 minutes ahead of her nearest rival. Her performances across the year earned her a berth at the inaugural PTO Collins Cup, where she defeated Jocelyn McCauley and Carrie Lester in their race in Samorin.
Kat’s 2021 season ended with an appearance at the 70.3 World Championship where she impressed again, finishing fourth, just missing out on the podium.
That performance back at St George in May 2022 when second in the IRONMAN World Championship was further evidence that the British athlete can mix it with the best in the world at both middle and long distance – with seemingly her best years ahead of her.
Kat goes Sub8
Matthews was called up for the Sub7Sub8 Project when Charles-Barclay was forced to withdraw due to a stress fracture in her hip. That left Kat to go up against triathlon legend Nicola Spirig at the Dekra Lausitzring in Germany on June 5, 2022.
Athletes were allowed a total of 10 pacers across the three legs, with the bike in particular being an incredible time trial as a result. Kat led after both the swim and the big legs, but then Spirig – using her renowned run ability – began to cut into that lead on the run.
Eventually Spirig caught and passed Kat, but if anybody thought that was the end of it, they were wrong. Within minutes Kat – maintaining admirable consistency of pace while Spirig started to ‘bonk’ – reclaimed the lead and went on to a famous victory.
Kat eventually stopped the clock on 7:31:54 – smashing that 8-hour barrier in some style.
Kat Matthews gear
Kat is supported by a number of organisations including Army Sport, The Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS), Pretty Athletic, Tim Podlogar Sports Consulting and Forth Edge.
Kat uses Orca swimgear, a BMC bike frame with DT Swiss wheels and uses Nike running shoes with Uvex eyewear. She is also a member of the BMC p/b 2XU Pro Triathlon Team.