Britain's Katrina Matthews breaks Ironman barrier with sub-eight hour time

Katrina Matthews
Katrina Matthews has a background as an Army physiotherapist

Britain’s Katrina Matthews became the first woman to finish the full Ironman in under eight hours with victory in the Sub8 in Germany.

The 31-year-old finished in seven hours 31 minutes and 54 seconds to beat rival Nicola Spirig by more than two minutes.

Matthews beat Britain’s Chrissie Wellington’s previous record of eight hours and 18 minutes 13 seconds.

In the men’s Sub7, winner Kristian Blummenfelt finished in six hours 44 minutes and 25 seconds.

The times recorded will not be considered official world records as the event was specifically designed to break the sub-seven and sub-eight barriers.

“I’m feeling a whole load of emotions, but the main one is gratitude for the whole team around me. Honestly of all the triathlons of the whole world, this is about the team,” Matthews said.

“I felt like I was letting them down all day. I was hitting the limit and I thought I was going to lose it, but the support on the sideline gave me the motivation to push on.”

Norwegian Blummenfelt beat Britain’s Joe Skipper, who finished in six hours 47 minutes and 36 seconds – indeed all four competitors finished their events inside their respective time barriers with both men inside seven hours and both women inside eight.

Skipper took the challenge on a week’s notice after two-time Olympic champion Alister Brownlee pulled out with an injury.

The event was designed to be similar in style to Eliud Kipchoge’s successful attempt to run a sub-two-hour marathon in 2019, with organisers tweaking small details in the design of their triathlon course to facilitate fast times.

It began with a 2.4-mile point-to-point swim on a man-made lake, without the need to waste time rounding buoys.

Then a 112-mile bike leg around a high-speed oval race track with banked turns followed by the final discipline, a marathon accompanied by a team of pacemakers.


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