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Imogen Matthews Athlete Ambassador

by Alexandra Parren

running athlete beach triathlon

Imogen got into running after taking part in a charity fun run. She soon discovered a passion for triathlon and talks to Sundried about race success.

Have you always been into sport?

No, when I was younger I was not sporty at all. It all started 4 years ago when I started running after doing a charity fundraiser for a local children's hospital. After running solo for nearly two years, I joined my running club and began to compete. I was loving it more and more and I was improving until I became injured, which is when I got into triathlon.

What made you decide to enter the world of triathlon?

In January 2018 I was hit with an injury which prevented me from running and finishing cross country season and meant many hours in the pool and on the bike instead. I rekindled my love for swimming and cycling while doing rehabilitation so decided to try a triathlon in July 2018 once my injury had settled. I loved it! I found it so exhilarating!

My 2nd triathlon was in Worthing which was a qualifier for 2019 European Championships. I didn't think I would qualify but wanted to race anyway and try. Not only did I qualify, I also came 1st in my age group. So here begins my journey in triathlon!

What’s been your favourite race to date and why?

I think my favourite triathlon race to date would be Worthing Triathlon, not only because I was over the moon to qualify for the European Championships but also because the weather was amazing, the course was exciting, and my family/friends came to support me.

My favourite running race to date would be the Great South run. I love longer distances and the atmosphere was amazing. I managed to place 1st in my age group and my best friend placed 2nd so it was an amazing day all round.

And your proudest achievement?

My proudest overall sporting achievement would be facing injury which taught me how to train smartly. I enjoy being able to share my experiences and knowledge with my club and on my blog. I think my proudest performance achievement would be qualifying for the 2019 European Championships because I never ever expected it after only staring triathlon 3 months before.

Have you ever had any racing disasters/your toughest race yet?

I cannot think of any significant racing disasters but last year I came back to racing too soon and had probably the worse race ever; I cried the whole race, it was so tough and I was in pain. I was disappointed in myself too but looking back now, it was all a learning experience.

How do you overcome setbacks?

Any setback is difficult for an athlete as it makes you feel disheartened and frustrated. Injury has taught me so much about sensible training, rest and recovery but also about myself. I have become more resilient and determined. Setbacks can make you feel down but you have to remain positive and focused by setting yourself little goals in cross training and rehab.

What advice do you wish you'd been given before you started competing?

I wish I had been told about over-training and the importance of rest because I think it is a trap athletes can fall into very easily without someone to guide you. I wish I had been told that I don't need to do every race because it leads to burnout.

What are your goals for 2019?

  1. Come back from injury stronger.
  2. Perform as best as I can at the European Sprint Triathlon Championships.
  3. Achieve a new 10km PB.
  4. Try and qualify for the performance squads at university.

Who do you take your inspiration from?

Gwen Jorgensen and Gabriele Grunewald.

What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite bit of our kit?

I think the values of Sundried are so important in a world where climate change is becoming more and more serious. I also love the passion that is behind the business! My favourite Sundried collection has to be the seamless one, especially the leggings and sports bras which are training essentials.

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