Kat Matthews overcomes setbacks to win Ironman Texas

Kat Matthews to strong IM Texas victory (Archive picture: James Mitchell / Insta)

Kat Matthews had to deal with all kinds of setbacks – she was already quite behind after swimming and she received a five-minute time penalty on the bike – but it did not stop the British top athlete from a wonderful victory at Ironman Texas. Especially during the marathon, Matthews had no limits.

A leading group of five women emerged in the water: Lauren Brandon, Lotte Wilms, Fenella Langridge, Rebecca Clarke and Diana Castillo Franco. Behind these leaders was a big gap of at least three minutes, while Matthews followed more than four minutes behind. Penny Slater, who would advance later in the day and move towards second place, was even almost eight minutes behind and was twelfth after the swim.

On the bike, the leading group, with the exception of Castillo Franco, stayed together for a long time: for about ninety kilometers Wilms, Langridge, Clarke and Brandon had something together, but from that moment on the foursome started to fall apart and only Wilms and Langridge remained together. The two rode so strongly that ninety kilometers later – back in T2 – they had built up a lead of 4:39 minutes over first pursuer Jocelyn McCauley, while Berry followed at 4:45 minutes and Matthews at 4:53 minutes. The latter had a very strong bike part, because Matthews had already lost five minutes due to a time penalty that she was forced to serve.

During the run, Langridge immediately flew away from Wilms and increased her lead to almost a minute. Yet Wilms did not give in and the Dutchie started to fight back after about nine kilometers. That worked, because not much later Langridge would drop back pretty fast and Wilms would take over the lead in the race. Yet from that moment on, after about seventeen kilometers, Wilms already felt the hot breath of an unleashed Matthews on her neck and before the half marathon point Matthews had passed Wilms already and thus became the new leader in the race.

From that moment on, Matthews actually ran unthreatened to victory, while Slater in turn had started to make good progress during the marathon. From seventh position, the Australian athlete moved further and further forward, eventually passing Wilms after thirty kilometers. This immediately sealed the stage.

Matthews won the race in a time of 8:42:22, Slater came second in 8:44:36 and Wilms third in 8:46:59.