Alistair Brownlee and Kat Matthews win first Ironman 70.3 Swansea

Two-time Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee and Ironman Worlds runner-up Kat Mathews are crowned champions at the inaugural Welsh half-Ironman

CARDIFF, WALES - AUGUST 07: Alistair Brownlee of Britain celebrates winning IRONMAN 70.3 Swansea on August 7, 2022 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for IRONMAN)

In the first-ever Ironman 70.3 Swansea, two-time Olympic champion Alistair Brownlee and Ironman World Champs runner-up Kat Matthews trounced the competition to take inaugural race honours.


Brownlee came into the event as clear race favourite despite a sub-par start to 2022. Up until this first race victory, his best finish had been fourth at Ironman 70.3 California back at the start of April.

Since then, a bout of sickness, a hip injury and a stomach issue have seen him DNS (Ironman Worlds), DNS (Sub7) and finish 24th (PTO Canadian Open).

Kat Mathews, on the other hand, has had a stellar first six months, with a win at Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote before that glorious second-place finish at the Ironman Worlds, in May, behind five-time champion Daniela Ryf, and then smashing the Sub8 Project at the start of June.

What happened in the men’s Swansea 70.3 race?

The male pro wave takes to the Prince of Wales Dock in Swansea at the start of the first-ever Ironman 70.3 in Wales. (Credit: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for Ironman)

A glorious sunrise over Prince of Wales Dock provided the requisite picture-perfect backdrop to the first half-Ironman race on Welsh soil.

Twenty-seven pro men took to the start line, but it was GB’s Andrew Horsfall-Turner who led the men’s field out of the 1.9km swim with a time of 22:15mins.

Nipping at his neoprene was Brownlee and GB’s Tom Bishop, who was racing his first middle-distance tri, with just 5secs separating the top three.

Onto the 90km bike and Brownlee was having none of this runner-up malarkey, settling in at the front of the hilly course through the Gower Peninsula to pull out a solid 2min gap to Horsfall-Turner and Bishop by the 20km mark.

Horsfall-Turner and Bishop were unable to keep up their initial podium-placing pace, dropping down to sixth and seventh, respectively, two-thirds of the way through.

Liam Lloyd, meanwhile, crept up to second behind Brownlee now 3mins ahead up the road, while Germany’s Maurice Clavel (winner of 2021’s Ironman South Africa) settled into bronze.

Alistair Brownlee competes in the bike section of Ironman 70.3 Swansea on 7 August, 2022. (Credit: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for Ironman)

Brownlee hit T2 after 2:12:40, before leaving just under 2mins later with over 5:30mins in hand over Lloyd in second and a further minute over Clavel in third.

By the first run marker at 6.5km, Spain’s Antonio Benito Lopez was up into second ahead of Lloyd in third and Bishop in fourth. Two kilometres later and Bishop was into bronze.

A third of the way through the 21.1km run and Brownlee had a 7min advantage over the Spaniard and 8:30 over Bishop.

With 3.5km to go Brownlee had the win in the bag, running home to a hero’s welcome for his first victory of 2022 in a time of 3:49:34.

After the win Brownlee told 220: “It feels like finally my 2022 season has started. I felt good today. I didn’t want to actually push that hard, I just wanted to execute a good, solid race…

“It was absolutely beautiful today. Some of those views on the Gower were superb and the crowds were brilliant.”

Speaking about his plans for the rest of the season, he said: “I’m going to race in Sweden in two weeks and if that goes well I’ll think about Kona.”

What happened in the women’s Swansea 70.3 race?

Kat Matthews continues a fantastic season with a win at the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Swansea (Credit: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for Ironman)

Matthews was the first of the 11 female pros to leave the water, clocking a 26:28min time 36secs clear of GB’s Lizzie Rayner in second.

Two-time Ironman winner Ruth Astle, who was part of Matthews’ bike and run pace team at the Sub8 Project, was sixth out of the water, 40secs down, but was soon trading places with Matthews over the 90km bike course.

At 20km, Matthews had it; at 60k it was Astle; 70k back with Matthews; 77k and it was Astle once again at the helm, pushing the gap further to Matthews by the 81km mark with a 1:15min cushion.

Racing strong for third was 2022 Ironman Lanzarote winner Lydia Dant, winner of the notoriously tough course in her first-ever full-distance event.

Into T2 and it was still Astle in the lead, posting 2:31:42 for the 90km bike. Matthews, the stronger runner of the two, was in 1:38mins later after a 2:34:05 bike split, making some time up on the swap-over to leave just 1:12mins down.

Dant was in and out in third, 3:13mins behind.

By the first time marker, Mathews was back in front by 45secs, a lead she’d hold until the finish over Dant in second and Astle in third, to claim her second 70.3 win of the year and her third to date. Her winning time was 4:25:09.


Top image: Nigel Roddis/Getty Images for Ironman