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Kat Matthews takes PTO’s inaugural “Athlete of the Month” award

British star's incredible comeback earns her the inaugural Athlete of the Month title

Photo by: Kevin Mackinnon

Great Britain’s Kat Matthews (pictured above on her way to a runner-up finish at the Ironman World Championship in St. George last May) made a brilliant return to racing last month after getting hit by a car last year just weeks before the Ironman World Championship last October, a race she would have arrived at as one of the pre-race favourites. In April, her third-place finish at Ironman 70.3 Oceanside followed by a brilliant win at Ironman Texas has earned her the inaugural Professional Triathletes Organisation (PTO) Athlete of the Month award.

“The monthly accolade will recognise a female or male PTO athlete based on: outstanding race performances, significant movement up the PTO World Rankings and/or challenges overcome,” according to the PTO. “A six-athlete shortlist was pulled together – based on race action during April 2023 – and then voted on by a panel of Triathlon media as well as fans of the sport.”

The shortlist for April 2023 included (in alphabetical order): Leo Bergere, Tamara Jewett, Matthew Marquardt, Kat Matthews, Rudy Von Berg and Amelia Watkinson.

Matthews topped the voting to win the inaugural award over Canada’s Tamara Jewett and then France’s Matthew Marquardt.

Ironman favourite Kat Matthews hit by car while training in Texas

Surprised at her own progress

Even Matthews has been surprised at how quickly she’s returned to the podium after the crash last year, that left her with extensive injuries.

“It makes no sense, on paper, to bounce back as quickly as I have,” she said in an interview yesterday. “I’m really surprised. I’ve been taking to some of my peers in the army – I’m allowing myself to dwell on how well it’s gone because it is so surprising.”

As she listed her injuries, it’s not hard to understand why exactly she’s surprised at her progress. In the head on collision she fractured the base of her scull, compressed and fractured two vertebrae and also fractured her sternum, breast bone, rib and hip socket.

While her racing and training has obviously returned to a high level, Matthews said she is still suffering from the crash.

“I still have back pain, I still have a sore hip,” she said.

Kat Matthews runs sub-2:50 marathon on her way to Ironman Texas win

Texas performance

While her podium finish in Oceanside served as a huge confidence boost for the Brit heading into the race in Texas, Matthews said she arrived in Texas feeling little pressure.

“I had every excuse not to win, not to finish,” she said. “It was quite liberating. In fact, I might not have felt enough stress. I maybe underperformed.”

After trailing Denmark’s Maia Stage Nielsen by over nine minutes starting the run, Mathews posted an impressive 2:49 run split to take the win.

World Championships this weekend

Matthews is excited to suit up for Great Britain at this weekend’s World Triathlon Long Distance World Championships in Ibiza. She said she didn’t feel ready to take on the powerhouse field set to line up for the PTO European Open on Saturday, but was keen to be part of the British team for Sunday’s race.

“In my first pro season I was driven by the military to race at the European Championships,” she said. “Every single year for the last four years I’ve had the world long distance championships on my radar to do. It’s always been a part of me to represent my country.”

Even though she’s not racing in the PTO European Open, Matthews is also excited to be able to be in Ibiza to be part of the weekend’s racing.

“What the PTO has done for the sport, I couldn’t be more happy to have found this time in the sport,” she said. “There’s a sense of community – the sport has never felt so connected. It never happened before. We connect, we learn – that can only improve the performance.”