Kat Matthews reveals full story behind SHOCK IRONMAN Hamburg disqualification

Kat Matthews, one of the favourites for this year's IRONMAN Pro Series, was disqualified in Hamburg at the IRONMAN European Championship on Sunday.

Staff Reporter
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Kat Matthews, the PTO World #9 and one of Britain’s best long distance triathletes, has shared the full story behind her disqualification from IRONMAN Hamburg on Sunday.

The 33-year-old, who started the race as the heavy favourite to take the European Championship title, was shown a red card by an official whilst out on the bike.

Detailing the incident on her Instagram account (full version here), Kat took full responsibility for the disqualification, before explaining the mistake that led to the incident.


“Gutted to have a lapse of concentration”

Having exited the water in the chase pack, three minutes down from leaders Fenella Langridge and Julie Iemmolo, Matthews had some work to do on the bike to put her in contention for the win.

Kat Matthews at the 2023 IRONMAN World Championship in Kona

Overcoming a bottle mount malfunction early on, the former British Army Physio was closing in on the front before a split-second lapse of concentration cost her the race.

“Gutted to have a lapse of concentration and make a stupid mistake at a moment when it really mattered. Disqualified for overtaking in the no overtaking zone.”

Underlining what went wrong for her, the IRONMAN Texas winner said that an element of confusion related to RaceRanger led to her mistake.

“More details to explain further but in no way excuse; in the professional field we are now using a distance sensor to show how far away we are from another professionals. A red flashing light means you have entered the ‘draft zone’. 

“Here in Germany, it was briefed that a red light followed by a no overtake would be a 5min drafting penalty. After my experience in Texas, I was even more heightened to this rule. I was behind a fellow pro, we hit a 90 degree bend onto a bridge, the sensor turned red, I overtook.

“No part of my brain thought, oh, this is the designated ‘no over take zone’. My mistake. I will keep trying to better understand and utilize RaceRanger in my racing.”


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“There was already a story to be told”

Back out on the course to cheer on her fellow competitors after being disqualified, Matthews once again demonstrated her great character in Hamburg, despite testing circumstances.

Kat Matthews PTO Tour US Open 2023
[Photo Credit: PTO]

Whilst her next race is yet to be confirmed, the Brit could be forgiven for wishing for a quieter day out next time around, after experiencing more than her fair share of drama this season.

A calf tear at the Miami T100 was followed by a drafting penalty on her way to victory in Texas, and the disqualification in Hamburg was just one part of a bigger story according to Matthews.

“I look forward to a race day with less drama in the field. This race was such an experience, so much was going on! Crazy! I had “survived” so much already prior to the DQ there was already a story to be told!”

Tomos Land
Written by
Tomos Land
Tomos Land is a triathlon & running journalist whose expertise lies in the professional world of short course & long distance triathlon, though he also boasts an extensive knowledge of ultra-running.
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