Kat Matthews heads into the New Year full of confidence as she looks to build on a superb 2021 which ended with her in the top 10 of the PTO rankings.
But it was her performance in the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in St George in September which arguably gave her the biggest boost going into what promises to be a vintage 2022 campaign.
Managing a calf injury and not initially expecting to compete in the Utah race, she finished fourth behind winner and fellow Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay.
Late change paid dividends
Matthews explained on the British Triathlon website: “It was only because the 2021 IRONMAN World Championship was cancelled due to Covid that made me decide to race there. It was a completely last-minute decision.
“I was only running 20km a week or so. I did a couple of runs before but nothing major, so I was really happy with that performance. Fourth was such a great result. My training showed I might be able to get top-five, but I never really believed it.
“That has given me huge confidence … If I can do that without the running training, I can aim even higher.”
Sights set high – and with good reason
And 2022 promises many opportunities for the 30-year-old to maintain that upward-trajectory as she balances her triathlon career with being a British Army Physiotherapist Officer.
The first big target is the delayed 2021 IRONMAN World Championship back at St George on May 7, followed by a trio of high-profile PTO events – the Canadian Open in July, the second edition of the Collins Cup in August and the US Open in September.
All being well it’s then onto Hawaii for the second IRONMAN World Championship of the year, back in its spiritual home of Kona.
But Matthews is taking it in her stride and with a relaxed approach, adding: “I’ve never raced at that level before, so it’s going to be a cool year, with no pressure. I know these things can change quickly, but it’s an exciting time at the moment.”