Matthew started competing in triathlon as a way to lose weight but soon found he was hooked. He talks to Sundried about training and racing.
Have you always been into sport?
In a word, yes! I started rugby as a boy and played all the way through school and university, alongside hockey and cricket. Unfortunately, about 6 years ago I broke my sternum during a rugby game which ended my ability to play.
I got into other sports such as running and ran the London marathon in 2017. I started triathlon about 2 years ago, initially as a way to lose weight but quickly became obsessed. My first Olympic distance was at Leeds Castle where I completed it in 2.35. After that race, I competed in qualifiers for the ETU championships in Weert and was lucky to qualify in my first season.
What made you decided to enter the world of triathlon?
I started triathlons to lose weight with a friend. I had always wanted to complete a triathlon so it was a double win, lose weight and tick something off my bucket list. I competed in a couple of sprints and then after my first Olympic distance at Leeds Castle I was hooked!
What’s been your favourite race to date and why?
I loved the atmosphere and the set-up of the ETU championships in Weert, but the race just didn’t go my way. My favourite race to date would therefore have to be Stewartby Olympic distance, where I completed it in 1:59. The race from the starting whistle just went perfectly according to plan, so it was a super fun race to do! I love the fact that the bike was in laps so it made the bike really competitive as you could see where the person in front of you was.
What’s your proudest achievement?
My proudest achievement is completing Stewartby Olympic distance in 1:59. I had been working so hard on getting my times down all through the off season but none of the races had gone right on the day. I worked really hard on my nutrition and the race went perfectly according to plan! I am also super proud that I have been on the podium for most of my races this year, and the ones where I haven’t been on the podium I’ve won my age group.
Have you ever had any racing disasters/toughest race yet?
Although I loved Weert, it was my hardest race yet. I had a great swim and bike and I went into the run in overall 5th position. Unfortunately, I then suffered really bad stomach problems which caused me to throw up multiple times in the bushes. Luckily it wasn’t near the spectators! I managed to carry on and go onto get 17th, which was really disappointing as I was in better form that that. This has given me a even bigger push to do well in the ITU’s next year.
How do you overcome setbacks?
I overcome setbacks by focusing on why the setback happened and then planning to make sure it doesn’t happen again. After my stomach issues at Weert, I worked with a nutritionist to get to the bottom of why my stomach was so upset, and touch wood, that hasn't happened since.
What advice do you wish you were given before you started competing?
Enjoy competing. At first I was so bogged down in times and positions and it took the fun out of competing. I have since relaxed slightly and begun to really enjoy racing again, and I have actually seen my times get better.
What are your goals for 2019/2020?
Fortunately, I completed all my goals this season. My big goal was to break the 2 hour mark and I completed that at Stewartby.
For next year my goals are:
- To finish top 10 in the ITU Championships in Edmonton, Canada
- To consistently finish under 2 hours for Olympic distance
- To get my run time down to 35 minutes for 10k
- Complete a 20:59 swim in an Olympic race
Who do you take your inspiration from?
Lionel Sanders! I’m really hoping I get to meet him whilst I'm in Canada! I think his ethos and training style are very similar to mine. I obviously love to watch the Brownlee brothers but Lionel is my original inspiration.
What do you like about Sundried and what’s your favourite piece of kit?
I love the simplicity of the designs and the fact that it's eco-friendly. I am really looking forward to being able to purchase the men’s padded jacket. I love the cycle gilet, It's comfortable and it keeps me warm yet breathable whilst I'm out on training rides.