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Fri 22nd Nov 2019
Team Freespeed Virgin Active expands for 2012
Posted by: Editor
Posted on: Wednesday 8th February 2012

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Last month we brought you news that Team Freespeed Virgin Active were expanding for 2012, seeking three new members to join their existing squad of four for the 2012 season. That search has now been completed...and so good was the response, they have actually added four new members to double the team size.

Here are the fortunate four that made the selection. Congratulations to you all.

New athletes announced for 2012

The selection process for our 2012 athlete line up has been completed and some tough decisions have been made. We set our criteria high - potential to finish top 10 at Kona or Vegas - but we were stunned by the volume and standard of applications we received.

Five athletes had already achieved a sub-9 ironman time, four more already have a Kona entry for this year secured and there were six national champions at varying distances.

In light of this the four successful applicants should feel very proud. Four?? Yes, we decided the competition was strong enough to justify an extra place so the final team size will now be eight athletes, the four existing members and four new faces.

We feel that the chosen four represent the very best of amateur triathlon talent, a perfect blend of potential and experience. So, racing alongside Stuart Anderson, Declan Doyle, Tim Bishop and Jenny Gowans in 2012 will be…

Richard Hobson

Richard HobsonRacing in the 45-49 age group, Richard should need no introduction. 21st overall in Kona 1995, five times British middle distance champion in the 90s, World and European team gold medallist and British Triathlon high performance coach taking two athletes to the Athens Olympics in 2004.

Richard currently lives in France, married with two (very fast) children, and is busy coaching and organising several popular training camps each year in Lanzarote.

Richard was chosen for two reasons, his wealth of experience as an athlete and coach make him an ideal choice to mentor the team and his competitive fire has not dimmed so this year he will be looking for that perfect Kona performance that has eluded him to date. He raced for the team as a guest at the National Relays last year and his fun and relaxed attitude to the sport is infectious and he will fit right in at Freespeed.

“Team Freespeed Virgin Active epitomizes what triathlon has always meant to me and is the reason I have loved the sport for nearly 30 years. It's cool, it's fun, it's incredibly professional and made up of committed, dedicated and inspiring athletes. I am truly very excited and honoured to be part of it.”

Matt Molloy

Matt MolloyAnother name that should be familiar to most is Matt who stepped up a level in 2011, breaking the amateur course record at Windsor alongside winning Swashbuckler, London Olympic Plus and the Dublin City Tri. Qualifying for Kona in Austria, he posted the fastest time ever by an Irishman on the Big Island, 9hrs 13mins, and then went on to win a bronze medal in the ITU World Long Distance Championships in Las Vegas. Matt will be racing in the 40-44 age group in 2012.

Married with four children, Matt is looking forward to a busy year ahead. Kicking off the season in Abu Dhabi, he will then race in Lanzarote, Roth, ITU Long Distance in Spain, Las Vegas 70.3 and finally, the main focus, Kona.
Matt is going to be a tremendous asset to the team, he is dedicated, talented, visible and his enthusiasm shines through everything he does in the sport. The rest of the team are quietly hoping Matt doesn’t bring his 9 year old daughter Megan to swim training as she recently clocked 6mins 11secs for 400 metres freestyle.

“I’m delighted to be part of the team for 2012. The support package that has been put together is seriously impressive, as are the athletes that I’ll be joining. I’m really excited about this year and I believe that being part of Team Freespeed Virgin Active will enable me to progress from what I achieved in 2011 and make 2012 a year to remember.”

Sam Baxter

Sam BaxterA new name to many, Sam burst onto the scene last year, his first year of focussing on triathlon, in which he won the infamous Ballbuster duathlon, followed by a win at the Beaver Middle Distance, first British amateur at Ironman UK and a 9hrs 12mins finish in Kona.

28 years old and working full time in business development, he is an ex hockey player with, before last year, only a passing interest in cycling and running and no swimming background. We believe Sam has a prodigious talent and we look forward to joining him on his journey to see how good he can be.

Plans this year include retaining his Ballbuster and Beaver titles, UK 70.3, Vitruvian, Ironman UK and if all goes well a podium at Kona.

“It’s fantastic to be joining Team Freespeed Virgin Active. To be a part of a team with high achieving athletes and top brand sponsor support, gives me the best opportunity to develop my own performance and achieve my goals whilst contributing to the team’s success.”

Alison Rowatt

Alison RowattIn 2010, Alison was overall amateur champion at the 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater. Amateur champion and fifth overall at UK70.3 was another highlight in a year that included impressive second place finishes at three other half ironman distance races – Lisbon, Aberfeldy and Vitruvian. A stress fracture of the foot meant that 2011 was a frustrating experience but Alison still managed to win the Scottish Middle Distance championship and was once again second at Aberfeldy behind Cat Morrison.

A full time solicitor living in Scotland and training with Stirling Triathlon Club, Alison will be racing in the 30-34 age group this year. A step up to Ironman is on the cards and her season kicks off with a visit to Abu Dhabi in March. Other planned races include Lisbon, Bilbao, UK70.3 and Ironman UK culminating, hopefully, in a trip to the Big Island in October.

Another ex hockey player, Alison knows what it takes to get to the top having competed in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

We are delighted to have Alison on the team and are convinced 2012 will be a great year for her. We are looking forward to some road trips to Scotland and to seeing Alison in London to sample the training delights of Richmond Park.

“I'm absolutely thrilled to be part of Team Freespeed Virgin Active for 2012. It's an exciting year ahead and to gain the support from such amazing sponsors as well as the other team members provides the ideal platform to help us all achieve our goals. I can't wait to get started!”

With some fantastic new sponsors in place for this season, things are looking very good for the team in 2012. We will have a dedicated team website up soon and you can follow the team's progress on twitter at @teamfreespeed

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