Bahrain Victorious 13 marked another triumphant weekend in North America and Asia. Kat Matthews smashed the full distance to become the Ironman North American champion, while Amelia Rose Watkinson recorded a wire-to-wire win over the half distance at Challenge Taiwan.
Matthews crossed the finish line in first place at the Ironman Texas – Americas Championship, clocking a time of 8:32:52 less than seven months after being hit by a car just a mile down the road from where the Texas race would be held.
The British star made up more than nine minutes’ deficit after the 3.8-kilometre swim and 180-kilometre bike, clocking the day’s fastest and only sub 3-hour marathon at 2:49. She has now booked her spot on the Kona pier to race the Ironman World Championship in October.
“I didn’t have a great day,” Matthews said post-race. “A bad swim, a bad bike but I managed to pull it back on the run. It wasn’t the most enjoyable I’ve had to win, but I’m so happy and grateful to my entire team who got me on the start line and I don’t know how I finished!”
In the men’s race, Joe Skipper was riding up the field after a good swim but missed a crucial turn to take him out of contention for the podium.
Across the globe in Taiwan, Watkinson lined up in scorching conditions to top the Challenge Taiwan podium. The speedy Kiwi emerged from the 1.8-kilometre swim with a 90-second lead, then extended it to 14 minutes over the 90-kilometre bike leg. She continued to pour on the pace in the concluding half-marathon to finish 24 minutes ahead of the rest of the field.
Watkinson said it was a “perfect hitout opportunity and a little confidence boost with some back end form. A pleasure to be a part of this atmosphere, over 7000 competitors and lots of raw emotion on that 11pm finish line. Now on to Ibiza!”
The next race weekend for Bahrain Victorious 13 will be on May 7 in Ibiza as Watkinson joins Daniela Ryf, Holly Lawrence, Jan Frodeno, and Alistair Brownlee on the starting line at the PTO European Open, while Matthews and Skipper target the World Triathlon Long Distance Championship held at the same venue.