Don Whitley Scientific Limited (DWS) has agreed to sponsor Matthew Walley, who is competing in the 2023 European Sprint Distance Duathlon Championships. Matt works for Eurofins, Wolverhampton as a Project Co-ordinator. Eurofins has been a DWS customer for many years.
Matt is currently preparing for this next race, to be held in Venice on 18th March where he is running for Team GB. There will be around 10 people in each age group for each country.
Matt usually trains about 10-15 hours a week but when building up to a race, it’s more like 20 hours. His schedule consists of gym sessions for strength and conditioning, running (usually with his dog, Vixen), and cycling; but it’s not unknown for there to be a slow run even on ‘rest days’.
How does he fit all this in around work? Matt says that he’s lucky to have the support of his employer: “Eurofins have been very supportive. I’m lucky enough to work 3 days a week and they are very flexible with my hours to fit around training.” Matt has to be very disciplined with himself though so early morning training sessions are the norm, however, he has booked a couple of weeks holiday to be able to do more preparation for Venice. Matt meets up with his coach every 3-6 months to plan his workout sessions. Living on a farm, Matt has been able to set up his own gym (in a shipping container) so he can train easily and whenever he wants/needs to. But again the strict discipline must come into play so that after work he can ignore the call of the Pringles! Crisps, he admits, are his downfall.
Sponsorship from DWS has enabled Matt to buy the Team GB kit he needs (see pic of tri-suit). The additional funding will also be invaluable when it comes to recovery – doing this amount of training, he needs to let his muscles recover properly. Matt added, “The funding will help with spending more time on recovery with Joe from Optimal Movement who is my Sport Therapist and keeps me in tip top shape.”
His current schedule looks like this:
11 March - Logaheads 5k trail race (with Vixie)
18 March - Venice Duathlon (Team GB)
22 April - Clumber Park Duathlon (World Qualifying race for Townsville 2024)
14 May - Weston Park Duathlon (European Qualifying race for 2024)
20 May - Maverick Adidas Terrex Peak District Ultra Marathon (run with Vixie, Matt’s brother and his dog, and his bother in-law).
Matt was not particularly sporty as a youngster. He started running after a friend convinced him to do a Parkrun in 2014. Matt explains,
“After competing in the Paris Marathon in 2016 I found the longer mileage didn’t suit my body and started Triathlons and Duathlons. I was lucky enough to win the Always Aim High series Duathlons in 2019. In 2022, one of the series was a qualifier event for the GB team, so I was then able to qualify for Venice.”
Matt often runs with his dog: “Vixie is good company and her enjoyment of getting out for a run can be infectious”. His wife, brother and brother-in-law also often accompany him on runs (as well as his brother’s dog).
To qualify for the GB team, Matt took part in the qualifiers in 2019, which was held in Snowden. However, all did not go smoothly for Matt. He did well in the first 5K run, coming in within the first 5-10 runners but then had trouble finding his bike so lost a bit of time and was not happy! However, he persevered and continued with 20k on the bike and another 2½k run.
Matt believes that as he gets older, he feels he has to be more active – especially as he has no discipline when it comes to food. He has always been very competitive and believes that having aims and goals feeds this competitive spirit … and hopefully keeps him young.
Matt is going all out for the World Qualifiers next year. They haven’t yet announced where the Euros will be held but the Worlds will be in Townsville, Australia.