Owain Matthews SquareOne Ambassador wins World Triathlon title

SquareOne Ambassador and local Mosman triathlete Owain Matthews recently won an age group World Championship title at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast on September 4th. This is a huge achievement for Owain as it’s a goal that he set a while back. It certainly came down to the wire on the day as he was battling cramps in the last few kilometre’s and managed to hold on to win by 6 seconds over a four hour race! We talk to him about he manages to balance a busy work, family and coaching schedule along with his triathlon endeavours. 

SquareOne Ambassador and local Mosman triathlete Owain Matthews recently won an age group World Championship title at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast on September 4th. This is a huge achievement for Owain as it’s a goal that he set a while back. It certainly came down to the wire on the day as he was battling cramps in the last few kilometre’s and managed to hold on to win by 6 seconds over a four hour race! We talk to him about he manages to balance a busy work, family and coaching schedule along with his triathlon endeavours.

Winning an Age Group triathlon world title is a serious accomplishment given the amount of work that goes into it and the level of the top age group competitors. How many weeks did you put into the build up? and what was the weekly time commitment?

I worked off a 16 week build, but had come into the build in pretty good shape. It ended being advantageous as a few bouts of sickness delayed some of my training and the additional fitness coming in helped supplement this. Most of my training weeks were between 15-18 hours, this is essentially twice a day training over 6 days with one rest day, using my weekends for longer training. 
 
What were your expectations going into the race? Did it play out as expected?

I was confident in my ability to race well, and although I didn’t feel as strong as this time last year I thought I would be in with a shot at the podium. The race went fairly to plan with the good swim/bikers getting a solid lead on me going into the run, but I had swum better than expected and felt good at the start of the run and I thought I could catch the guys up the front.

 
You came off the bike in 35th place and ran into 1st. That’s some serious run speed. Did you know where you were placed as you caught people and what were you thinking?

It always sounds so amazing to other people, but it’s just the way the race plays out for me. Although not as long as the bike it is really easy to lose time on the run so although I came off in 35th, I was close to the competitors ahead and probably caught at least 20 of them in the first 5km. As I moved into the second lap I knew I was 3 minutes down on the lead, but I wasn’t sure who that was or where I was placed. I figured from there I would just run as hard as I could for the duration and if that got me the win then I’d be happy with my effort. I actually caught the leader at 16km and had to work hard in the last 2km’s to stay in the lead and fight off cramps I was starting to get in my quadriceps. 

 
We know that you ran 5 years of NCAA first division athletics in your earlier days. What have been the major challenges in the transition to triathlon over the last 5 years? 

The biggest transition has been focusing more on the swim and bike while trying to maintain my run strength. I’ve definitely worked more on running efficiency and mobility to be able to sustain my threshold pace for longer, rather than just trying to run fast.

 
You’ve just ticked a large box and you are soon to become a Dad for the second time. What are the plans going forward?

I really want to give Hawaii Ironman a crack again and see if I can translate my 70.3 success into the longer distance, but I need to devote some time to the family as well. It looks like I will probably target Busselton Ironman in 2017 and Hawaii Ironman 2018.

 
What are three key pieces of the picture that you think have made you successful as an athlete?

1. Keeping perspective on a good training and life balance. I couldn’t enjoy or succeed in the sport if I didn’t appreciate and respect all aspects of my life.
2. Being smart about training and focusing on striving for quality and improvement over quantity and sheer hard work.
3. Giving back to the community and being involved with like minded people who support my goals and continue to inspire and motivate me to be a better athlete.