Name: Cat Thomas
Years in Sport and experience so far: I started triathlon in 2013 and in my first season raced all distances from Super Sprint up to Half Ironman. Running is my strongest discipline as I come from a running background. Swimming has always been my weak point and before I started triathlon, I could only do breaststroke. I set about learning freestyle but it seemed to take forever for everything to fall into place but gradually I made progress and thankfully now have a better idea of what I am supposed to be doing and am no longer the last out of the water in competitions. I have found myself on the podium at a couple of triathlons which has been a bonus. I tend to do better in the longer races, possibly due to the fact that being so far back in the swim, I used to have to play catch up, and in fact managed to qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in 2017. Needless to say, I got nowhere near the podium but the experience of competing with the world’s best on a very challenging course was amazing.
Why I enjoy the Sport: I find triathlon a challenging and strategic sport which gives me plenty to think about when I am racing. I like the fact that there are three disciplines as this makes training a lot more interesting. It also gives me the opportunity to indulge my other great passion – travel.
Goals for next year and longer term: I would like to try and qualify again for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships and generally become more competitive.
Favourite Quote: Seize the day
Name: David Smith
Years in the sport and experience so far: about 2 years. I did a super sprint triathlon as a taster and the next thing I knew I was signed up to a Half Ironman. I have now done 4 triathlons – 2 sprints and 2 Half Ironmans.
Why I enjoy the sport: in a strange way it was the death of a close friend that got me into endurance sport. I got fit and ran the London Marathon initially to raise money for charity but I found I enjoyed training towards something and the achievement of completing the race. The next challenge was moving to do triathlons, which added the complications of swimming and cycling. At the time I hadn’t swam for many years and didn’t own a bike but it was fun to learn and improve the other disciplines. I have quite a competitive streak so ultimately I enjoy improving, pushing my body through preconceived limits and achieving things most people think you are mad to even attempt.
Goals for next year and longer term: I’m aiming to complete my first full Ironman in July. I don’t do things by halves. Well apart from the 2 I’ve already done……
Favourite quote: “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” Michael Jordan
Name: Saleema Adamson
Years in sport and experience so far: My background in sport is pretty limited…I was always the kid at school avoiding anything active! About 10 years ago I was overweight and took up running completing a few half m
arathons and losing almost 4 stone. I then got injured and couldn’t run for almost 5 years, that’s when I found road cycling – the love of my life!
I got very into road cycling after buying my first road bike 5 years ago and built up my experience over the next couple of years. I then decided to learn how to do front crawl and overcome my fear of the water. Swimming definitely doesn’t come naturally to me and I’ve had to work very hard at it. I started to have a desire to one day co
mplete an Ironman but thought with all my running issues that this would never be possible so I got into long distance aquabike (swim and bike) races and loved this.
Then at a tri camp 2 years ago one of the coaches planted the idea in my head that I could train to walk the marathon section of an ironman and I immediately signed up to race Bolton last year! I completed the outlaw half last year as a warm up for Bolton and am now doing ironman copenhagen in 2 weeks.
Why I love the sport: I genuinely love long distance triathlon, turning up on race day seeing so many different ages abilities and background is wonderful. I’ve made so many good friends through the sport and am really proud of my friends who have just started on their triathlon journeys after seeing me enjoy it so much. I love the training, the discipline and most of all the sense of achievement. And being able to eat lots is pretty awesome too!
Goals for next year and longer term: Next year I have decided to not do any iron distances and focus on 70.3 distance. This is to allow me with Musty’s help over the winter to try to sort out my running injury issues so that I can actually get serious about times. Ive been doing well this year with my overall placements in aquabikes even picking up a first place (!) but I really want to extend that into tris. I’ve also been working hard with Musty to improve my swimming, this year he has helped me to knock 10 minutes off my iron distance swim PB so this will continue to be a key priority.
Favourite quote: “You are better than you think you are”
Name: Martin Read
Years in sport & experience: 15 months. After a long period of mickey taking by my wife, who said my front crawl looked like I was drowning, I decided to take up some swim lessons at a local club – some 2 years ago. This went well and after getting tri’ inspiration watching a friend and an old S4F member – Dan Powell I entered an Olympic at Eton Dorney some 8 months later (July ‘15). The 3 aims were – to finish, not to finish last and finish in under 3 hours. All achieved, but just. From there, the bug was well and truly “got”. I had big plans for 2016. At Christmas I treated myself to a ½ Iron distance at the Vitruvian, as well as listing out monthly races or varying distance until that point. Family, life and work took over and I ended up only completing an Olympic swim (part of Relay) at the Dambuster, a team sprint with my old club Shires triers, a sprint distance back at Dorney in 1:17 and the Vit, in 5:47. Not the glittering success I had hoped but the Dorney sprint proved to myself that I’d improved and finishing the Vit cemented this! Having been considering calling Musty for some time, I recall seeing Gerry Frewin flying past me in the run of the Vit. A few days later, after checking the S4F web site I saw not only Dan Powell, but Gerry grinning and commenting on how he’d improved under Musty’s guidance and that was that!
Why I enjoy the sport: Standing in transition on my first tri, the thing I noticed and what calmed the nerves most was the inclusion and how friendly everyone was. I was concerned my old Halford’s special, weighed down by pumps, gels and water bottles would be laughed at by these lycra clad pros on razor blades – but quite the opposite. Everyone stopped, chatted and gave advice and reassurance, even as they lapped me on the bike, they still were congratulatory as they flew past! The fitness and varied nature of all the training is amazing, but the camaraderie is a massive part. During a later race, as we stood in the second wave ready to enter the water, one solo chap came out, miles behind the main pack of swimmers, doing a slow breast stroke. He had probably spent the last 5 minutes of swimming worried about being laughed at as he got out of the water, but quite the opposite, we all clapped and cheered and almost gave a hero’s welcome as he climbed the ramp. It’s those sort of moments that us novices remember!
Goals for next year: To get myself into the middle of the field or higher!! I would love to complete a long distance/IM event at the end of the year, but sprints, Olympics and another half is definitely on the cards.
Name: Michael Gallucci
Years in the Sport and experience so far: 3 years. Ironman 70.3 St Polten Austria (twice), Etonman Endurance (twice), Stowe Half Iron, MK Olympic (twice), some more Olympics and Sprints…..
Why I enjoy the Sport: When I left school my only form of exercise was occasional bike rides and as a challenge in 1996 the Watford Sprint Triathlon. After my weight ballooned to over 20 stone I decided positive and life changing action was required. So I scoured the Internet for a local Personal Trainer who can help me to become a triathlete! So the PT comes to my house twice a week and we start off slow. Do you like boxing he asks? (Apart from the OW swim start, why else would I ne
ed to tone up my right hook for a triathlon?) OK I say, and he starts teaching me how to box. This is fun, and only painful for him if I miss hit. Boxing is followed up by a run. In my condition, the run is really a waddle for 2 minutes and then a jog for 2 minutes, but we need to start somewhere. I hate it, feel everyone is looking at me with this superfit guy in his T-Shirt emblazoned with XXX PERSONAL TRAINER and me flagging (and lagging) behind. We get back to the house and its kettle bells, foam rollers (designed to inflict pain all over) and stretching. In 3 months I lose a few kilos and starting to feel a bit better about myself. Thankfully the training starts to get more comfortable and my triathlon journey began. Since those dark days I have tested and challenged myself on the mountains of Austria and cold wet track at home. almost passed out on the Watt bike and jumped into lakes colder than a polar bear’s pyjamas. I love the training, the challenge, the loneliness and the beer after the race. Some days I even love the Coach!
Goals for next year and longer term: Sub 6 hour half iron, sub 4 hour marathon, sub 2 hour half marathon.
Favourite Quote: “I’m the boss. I train them like animals because I’m an animal coach. Shut the f**k up and just do the training.” Brett Sutton
Years in the sport and experience so far: My first race was in 2013 and I got totally hooked! That year I completed an Olympic and a 70.3 race. In 2014 I set my sights on an Ironman distance race and my biggest achievement to date is completing the Nottingham Outlaw (in the searing Midlands heat) in 10h51. In 2015 I focussed on the 70.3 distance, with my ‘A’ race being Ironman Staffs 70.3, where I snuck in under 5 hrs with a 4h58 and 15/288 in my AG. I also had my first taste of a podium, with a 3rd place in an Olympic distance race..…this may or may not have been due to the 2 guys ahead of me not being able to follow the massive neon signs on the run!
Why I enjoy the sport: The Lycra. The buzz of pre-race transition. The sense of achievement when crossing the finish line. The camaraderie and support from fellow competitors. But mostly, the Lycra!
Goals for next year and longer term: 70.3 Worlds! A lofty goal, but that is why I have got involved with Musty and S4F. Training-wise I have no clue what I am doing, so I’m focussed on doing what I am told by someone who does. I believe this will give me the best shot of achieving my goal whilst I am in the 30-34 AG.
Favourite quote: If you want the rainbow, you’ve gotta put up with the rain – do you know which philosopher said that? Dolly Parton. And people say she’s just a big pair of..…. – David Brent, 2002.
Name: Ali Travers
Age: 29 (30 in April…eeek!)
Years in the Sport and experience so far: 19 years…competing in Triathlons since the age of 10 (though I had a few years off in my 20’s when I discovered alcohol and skiing).
Why I enjoy the Sport: I was brought up in a very sporty and competitive family and triathlon lets me vent my competitiveness without getting angry at too many people (unlike team sports). I love the variety of the training and racing (multiple distances and various challenging courses at home and abroad), it’s a sport that really keeps you on your toes.
Goals for next year and longer term: Goals for 2016 – surviving hitting the big 30. Competing in some of the most challenging races in the UK (up to 70.3 distance) and winning a few if possible. Goals for longer term – Compete in an IronMan in 2017 and then possibly more long distance and Ultra runs in the next few years.
Favourite quote(s): ‘Pain is temporary, victory lasts a life time’ but also (for next year specifically) ‘The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning’ which is a Pele quote
Years in sport and experience so far: 2.5 years.
Why I enjoy the sport: I got into triathlon after my friend signed up for their first sprint triathlon and needed a training buddy. I wasn’t very fit, didn’t own a bike and I considered running more than 30 minutes a tough workout. I trained my butt off and managed to finish well ahead of the time I set myself, from the minute the gun went off I was hooked. Since then I have done a good number of sprint distance triathlons, a couple of duathlons, aquathons and did my first half marathons this year (Paris and Bath) – something I never thought I would be able to do.
The thing I love about triathlon are things like the adrenaline you get from competing, the support from the crowds on race day, the fact that there are so many variables you never really know how the day will go, the training, the post race banter with your mates, but most of all I enjoy being able to push myself to do things I didn’t think I was capable of. Plus the beer at the finish line is the single greatest thing you will ever drink.
Goals for next year: its time to step up to Olympic distance triathlons and do these regularly throughout the season. the longer term goal of eventually doing a half iron man distances in the next 2-3 years.
Coming from a swimming background I’m chasing the honour of 1st out of the water. For bragging rights only.
Favourite Quote: some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.
Years in the sport and experience so far: 1 year
Why I enjoy the Sport: two things I remember about being really young was going swimming (although I hated it at the time) and watching my Dad complete Ironman after ironman. It never really occurred to me that I would get to the point where I’d decide that was what I wanted to do with my life but I have.
I wouldn’t be where I am with the sport today without the coach and I’m just happy to keep my head down and keep pushing forward.
Favourite Quote: “I just want to go out there and play the game that I love” –Jon “Bones” Jones
Years in the Sport and experience so far: I’ve always been active in sports, tried my luck in ball-sports but quickly found I was better suited for endurance sports. Whilst I’ve always been cycling, rowing has been my main sport for quite some time, and still has left its marks on how I enjoy sports nowadays. No drafting and you’re only strong if you lead the pace… Since 3 years I’ve tried my luck in triathlon to get back into shape after a knee injury (yup ball sports…) and just can’t help myself not doing exercise.
Why I enjoy the Sport: I love triathlon because it enables me to do different sports and enabled me to take up a new sport (swimming) whilst maintaining my passion for the bikes and even allows for a new one in the bike park :-). Doing different types of sport and utilising most muscle groups gives me a great feeling of being fit and happy. Plus having people saving themselves for the run, means that my bike leg seems really quick….
Goals for next year and longer term: I aim to do a sub 2h Olympic Distance this year and will hopefully really improve my swimming and running on the way to it.
Favourite quote: Shut Up Legs. Jens Voigt
Age: 49 and a half !
Years in the Sport and Experience so far: I’ve been doing triathlon for 15 years – ever since I moved away from the river in 2000 and had to give up rowing.
I loved the challenge and variety of the 3 sports together.
Worked up from first pool based sprint [ Crew and nantwich ] to first open water sprint [ the river at Ironbridge . scene of many rowing events …and a nice bike climb up out of the gorge ! ]
There followed a couple of Olympic distances, a couple of kids , and did my first Half in 2008 in the New Forest .
Since then I’ve done a middle distance most years – Little Woody, Hellvelyn, the Brutal up Snowdon , Hever , and finally this year Alpe d’Huez .. I think that can tick the ” close enough to ironman ” box for me!
Add in 3 marathons including Beachy Head , a couple of fell races in the lakes and 3 Snowdon races plus a few sportives, a 5km swim and a nearly 10k swim up Lake Conniston this year and you have someone who loves the challenge and the hills and the scenery more than achieving any great speed!
7 years ago we started running the Aldbury Tri – a fun local sprint row/bike/run for charity set up by our mate Will first in Aldbury and now in Nettledon each September.
Why I enjoy the sport: Ive loved being part of a team the last 6 months ..tho you may have me when I’m over the hill I think I still have some racing left in me !
Goals for next year and longer term: Next year I’ll run the Ashridge Boundary run in March, hope to do a challenge race in Scotland in July [ if I’ve not left it too late to enter ! ] – swim bike kayak run with a bit of compass work I think ! and the Conniston swim again in September as tho I rarely return to a race twice it was a beautiful race and really well organised .
And of course I hope to better my times in the S4F team events next year and win us some points …if nothing else I’ll be in a ‘ special ‘ age group !
Longer term..keep going , keep improving if poss.
Favourite quote: Johnny my husband ‘ it’s all about the bike ‘ [ he might have plagiarised that one but I still like it! …that and the fact that he taught me how to eat,drink and pace right to avoid the walls ]
Less favourite quote: ‘ you’re swimming like a fridge ‘ …thats him too !
Years in the Sport and experience so far: I have 0 years experience and I am a total newbie to triathlons. I have completed a couple of charity runs and cycles over the past few years. I also participated in a few swimming competitions with my swimming club, many years ago.
Why you enjoy the Sport: I have always been into fitness and sports. I get bored easily and my fitness repertoire ranges from yoga, British military fitness through to surfing and indoor climbing. But I have always enjoyed running, cycling and swimming and never thought to combine the three! Genius! so I was intrigued to complete a Triathlon and it was Musty who suggested I try out the triathlon class at my local gym. I thought he was bonkers! I was under confident and concerned that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with everyone, but he convinced me that I have the potential to do well. In actual fact, as a beginner I do not feel intimidated at all. The squad are all a very friendly, welcoming, encouraging and inspiring group of people.
Goals for next year and longer term: F§airly basic, but my goal for 2016 is to complete a Triathlon. I am also planning to complete two cycle sportives; 100km and 140km. To be able to complete these will be a massive achievement for me and see whether I develop the triathlon bug!
Favourite quote: If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.
Name: Gerry Frewin
Years in Sport: Thirteen
Why I enjoy the sport: Triathlon is the ultimate leveller. For me its provides a work life balance, a food/booze balance, a vent for my frustrations, relaxation when the training punctuates my working day, satisfaction for my hugely competitive nature and variety across three sports I love. I have met some lifelong friends through the sport, competed around the globe and represented the country at age group level.
Goals for next year: A podium finish is my ultimate goal. Amongst other races I have entered the Vitruvian Half Ironman next year, to come away with a result I’m proud of has to be my ultimate goal for 2016.
Favourite Quote: Never pat a burning dog
Name: Kerry wright
Years in the sport and experience so far: I’m an absolute beginner to triathlon and any sport. I did my first novice charity race a few weeks ago and I enjoyed it so much I signed up for a sprint distance towards the end of the season. I have no experience or history in sport whatsoever, the only competition I have ever taken part in up to now is school sports day ( which was a very long time ago!)
8 months ago I was over weight and very unfit, I set myself a goal to do the charity triathlon so worked hard to lose fat and improve my fitness levels enough to compete in the event. I surprised myself by coming 16 out of 60 women across all age groups
Why I enjoy the sport: I like the fact that it’s three disciplines as it gives me a bit of variety. Musty seems to think that I have potential which is quite an exciting thought considering my lack of sporting experience! So I look forward to becoming part of the squad!
Goals for next year and longer term: I want to race in a sprint distance triathlon in September, then may be an Olympic distance at the end of the 2017 season.
Favourite quote: “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” –C.S. Lewis
Name: Stuart Pankhurst
Years in sport: I started to get an interest in triathlon eight years ago, after a triathlete destroyed me in a gym based fitness test. Since that point I was hooked, never looking back, but taking a back seat on racing last year due to work commitments. I have raced lung bursting sprints upto the ironman distance and took a side step with an ultra-marathon along the way.
Why I love the sport: This sport takes me to places that test my mind more than my body. I find the training provides time when nothing else can distract me. The buzz after a races stays with me for weeks and I am addicted to the pursuit of betterment. I can see myself getting into ultra-distance racing more over the coming years, but will never leave the sport of triathlon as the comradery is unlike any other sport.
Goals: Top 10 age group finish in a half ironman distance race. Race the Trans Atlas Marathon…maybe in a year or two.
Favourite quote: Not really got one, but I have a few that I tell myself after a long layoff, one being: “ shame is at the start of any good training programme” always makes me feel better after stepping into lycra a ¾ of a stone heavier than the last time.
FORMER SQUAD MEMBERS AND FRIENDS OF THE SQUAD
Name: Emma Buckley
Years in sport and experience so far: Zero experience! I am a complete beginner and am yet to complete my first triathlon. In September 2016 hopefully that will be rectified and I will complete my first sprint triathlon. My experience to date has been in running and I have taken part in a number of 10k and half marathons and just one marathon in London so adding 2 new disciplines to make the triathlon is a daunting prospect, but one I’m looking forward to all the same.
Why I enjoy the sport: In the training I have done so far I really enjoy the challenge of taking on all 3 disciplines. I’m not a strong swimmer and was petrified of going into open water, but lessons with Musty are improving my confidence. I haven’t used a road bike before and am now considering my first pair of cleats and cycling shoes! The more training I do, the more I want to improve and I’m enjoying the new experiences that triathlon training is bringing me.
Goals: To complete my first triathlon
Quote: “It always seems impossible until it’s done”. Nelson Mandela
Name: Allie Park
Years in the Sport and experience so far: My first race was 2012 – RAF Halton sprint, just months after I learnt to swim. In 2013 I completed a couple of sprints, 2 x olys and Half IM (wimbleball) and, my first full ironman which was when Coach Musty started to coach me – 8 weeks before IM UK as I won an entry as a competition prize.
In 2014 I qualified for the ETU championships in Almere and also did IM Austria, IM70.3 Majorca as well as a handful of shorter distance races. In 2015 I qualified for both the ETU European and ITU World long distance champs and I raced wimbleball again and took on Ironman Wales. In 2016 I’m taking a year off from the full IM distance and having some fun doing more low key events.
Why I enjoy the Sport: You can not beat the buzz of crossing a finish line feeling utterly exhausted but so elated with what you have achieved. The sport is so supportive and one of the only sports when you can line up on a start line along with some of your heroes and actually see all the pros out on the same course as you (as they whizz past you making it look so effortless).
Goals for next year and longer term: KONA BABY!! Not in 2016 as I have work priorities and commitments for the coming year which means I will be training for shorter events only. However, after a year of shorter distance I will be upping the ante and going Kona or bust for a couple of years. If I can’t achieve my dream of racing Kona through qualification, I shall go there to marshal and volunteer one year so that I can still go around the full IM course in the lead up to race week to swim, bike and run on the sacred ground (and sea) where all my heroes strut their stuff on my birthday weekend every October!
Favourite quote: I’m not one for remembering quotes but my dad summed it up for me when I was a kid…..not really a quote but a sentiment I believe in: ‘If you work hard enough and believe in yourself you can have whatever you set your mind to’ Brian Ernest Park.