After taking second place at the Ironman World Championships in St. George this month, MANA-managed athlete Kat Matthews has risen to a career-high #3 on the Professional Triathletes Organisation world rankings.
Matthews qualified to compete in the Ironman World Championship back in 2020 by winning Ironman Florida, but the pandemic forced organisers to postpone the championship race and relocate it from Kona, Hawaii to St. George, Utah. When Matthews’ long-delayed debut in an Ironman World Championship race finally came to pass, she battled four-time world champion Daniela Ryf over the bike leg and held off reigning world champion Anne Haug on the marathon to claim the second-highest step on the podium.
“I smiled at one point whilst I had a moment of realisation that I was racing at the front of the Ironman World Championship with Daniela on the bike and we were pulling away. It was incredible!” Matthews said.
She added, “I turned the pressure into confidence. It meant it wasn’t just me saying, ‘Yeah, I’m going to go win the World Ironman Championship’… Instead it was other people thinking I can do this. So, I [said] I’m going to give it a go.”
Matthews now heads into the history-making Pho3nix Sub8 Project, Powered by Zwift as an Ironman vice world champion, boosting her confidence in her ability to go faster than eight hours over the full distance of triathlon.
Lauren Parker made a triumphant debut in the Ironman World Championship para division. She is only the third woman and first Australian to finish in this division, racing it for the first time as a paratriathlete after twice having raced and once winning her age group as an able-bodied athlete. Her time of 14:00:47 on the brutal St. George course with its steep inclines is also a new world record. Parker now adds this world title to her Ironman 70.3 world title and World Triathlon paratriathlon world title.
“One of the toughest races I’ve done,” Parker says. “Such a brutal yet amazing course that makes you dig deeper than you ever think possible. I’ve waited five years to get back to racing Ironman… it will be a day I’ll never forget.”
Maya Kingma kicked off her 2022 World Triathlon Championship Series campaign with a 5th place finish in Yokohama. The Dutch athlete lined up alongside more than 40 competitors to race the Olympic distance triathlon in slippery conditions. She stayed with the lead group over swim and bike and was first onto the run. Her finish puts her on the WTCS leaderboard at #20.
Kingma says, “Happy with my physical performance and tactics in all three (or even four) disciplines, and especially with another very good run!”
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(Featured photo credit: BMC Powered by 2XU Pro Triathlon Team)