Athlete Biographies

Name:  Sam Adkins

Age: 32

Location: Bournemouth, Dorset.

About me: Since moving to Bournemouth in 2012 my love for the outdoors has grown. We’re super lucky to have a lot of Parkrun’s, running clubs, cycling and outdoor swimming groups probably because we have lots of beautiful places to do these things! A side effect of this however is knowing a bunch of people who have done a lot of really awesome things… and I have a fabulous training buddy, who never ceases to amaze and, to enjoy the miles with. 

My day jobs include partnership work with a third sector organisation to promote Recovery and social inclusion whilst running around after my little MunchieCat. 

Previous experience: Running since 2015; but fairly new to multi-sport with one 70.3 in 2020 with a heap of mistakes thrown in ☺.

Current goals: Complete long course in July. PB at 70.3 in June. 

Bucket list events: Jurassic Coast Challenge, LeJog, (I keep watching the Norseman documentaries on YouTube).

Any other random facts: My first attempt at triathlon was a virtual 70.3 in lockdown.


Name:  Heather Hobbs

Age: 54

Location: St Albans, Hertfordshire. 

About me: I’m a full time research scientist at GSK. I have two grown up children; a daughter who thinks putting on trainers is too much like hard work and a son who’s in the paratroopers. My husband is a considerably better cyclist than me, runs occasionally, also much faster than me, but thankfully swims like a brick.

Previous experience: I entered my first triathlon in 2007. I swam breaststroke and was almost the slowest swimmer in the race but I’ve always been a cyclist and as a half decent runner my overall result wasn’t too shabby. That was it, I was hooked. 

Wind forwards 9 years and I’d learned to swim front crawl, conquered my fear of open water, (well maybe not completely, anyone who’s seen me before a race will know that’s not true) and was standing on the edge of a lake Austria in team GB kit trying to psych myself up for my first Middle Distance European Triathlon championships. I’ve since raced Herning (Denmark); Ibiza and Targu Mures (Romania) Middle Distance championships for team GB. Apparently being a rubbish swimmer doesn’t matter if you’re pretty handy on a bike 🚴.

I’ve ridden the Fred Whitton (in snow), the Raid des Pyrenees (in rain), the Ventoux cingles (not windy that day), competed in two road cycling world championships (Aviles and Varese) and last summer completed the North Coast 500, which was awesome!

I will always be a cyclist at heart, a runner when injuries allow (increasingly infrequently) but never a swimmer.

Current goals: To get to IM Switzerland, (preferably injury free) to get round in one piece, and to be able to walk the following day 🤞

Bucket list events: LEJOG, cycle tours of pretty much anywhere.

Any other random facts: In my first open water Triathlon I swam into a tree 😖


Name: Mark Park-Crowne

Age: 56

Location: St. Albans

About me: Grew up on bikes, swam at a local club, and ran cross country and longer distance track at school. Got into running properly at University with a friend, did a number of Great North Runs. Life got in the way until I found myself forty and a bit portly, when I started running again to get lighter for climbing hills on my mountain bike. When Allie and I got together*, triathlon was inevitable!

*(Allie edit: our first date was a 2hr muddy trail run, second date was weights at the gym – as I had to make sure he was Ironman-boyfriend material!)

Previous experience: A few sprints and Olympic distance events, then Castle Howard Middle Distance, and Wimbleball Half Ironman, which taxed my sense of humour.

Current goals:

  • Stick to shorter distance triathlons, plus runs up to half-marathons, knees permitting
  • Swim, bike, run in lovely places with my family
  • Avoid any talk of a full Ironman

Bucket list: Don’t have one

Random facts: 4th dan blackbelt at Ki-aikido, or “country dancing” according to kick-boxer Allie.

Have raced a couple of Fastnet offshore yacht races, and hold a yacht skipper’s ticket. RedAlertPT sailing trip anyone? I think there’s a long distance sail/run event to be done…


Name:  David Cashman

Age: 36

Location: Dungarvan Waterford Ireland

About me: I’m the Chief Commercial Officer for an outsourcing company based in Ireland. Married 7 years with two kids and a brand new puppy! As a family we love to exercise and my wife is a keen Crossfitter! I’m a sucker for techy stuff, so this triathlon game could break me!!!

Previous experience: Played Rugby to a decent level, but work commitments made attending fixed training sessions hard. Got lazy for a few years but then did my first triathlon 3.5 years ago and fell in love with the sport! Haven’t looked back since!

Current goals: Ironman 70.3 Switzerland and Full Ironman Ireland (both this Summer)

Bucket list events: Escape from Alcatraz and Hike to Basecamp Everest  

Any other random facts: I was on the Irish version of the Apprentice!


Name: Emily Taylor

Age: 42

Location: Hertfordshire 

About me: I’m a full-time mum juggling four children alongside triathlon training. 

Previous experience: I came to marathons/triathlon in my 20’s from a swimming background.  My first was London Triathlon where I swam breaststroke and rode my mountain bike! Fifteen years on I’ve just qualified for a GB age group place for middle distance Tri and I’ve been training with Allie since gaining that place in late 2019.

Current goals: To race my GB middle distance age group place. 

Bucket list events: I’ll definitely try my hand at an Ironman one day but not until the kids are all in school and I have time to train! A LCW first. 


Name:  John Beel

Age: 46…. almost 47, nowhere near 50 ( please don’t ruin this theory)

Location: Hitchin, Hertfordshire. 

About me: I qualified as a vet in South Africa and moved to the UK in 2000 with my wife. Completed my post grad studies at the Royal veterinary college and spend my days now doing a mix of managerial work and clinical ophthalmology. 

Previous experience: Always liked mountain biking, but I hated running- my rule was, “ I only run when I’m being shot at”! However a friend forced me to do a tough mudder event with him and I loved it! I got into triathlons more as a way to prepare for a mountain climbing trip I was taking and because my wife forced me….. see there is a trend here😬.

After spectating at an IM 70.3 that my wife did, I thought I’d like to do that! One hitch- I swim really badly! Since then I’ve done several sprints and standards, and one 70.3 distance.

Current goals:

1) Don’t drown! – what makes it worse is my wife swims like a fish

2) run faster than Mr Blobby,

3) IM 70.3 Italy sept,

4) Escape to Afan November

5) Yukon Arctic ultra February 2022

Bucket list events: Everest or K2 summit

Any other random facts: black belt in a few martial arts disciplines, the gene runs in family as both my kids complete national level and eldest represented UK at world Taekwondo championships in Argentina where he got a bronze.


Name: Olly Buxton

Location: Biggleswade, Bedfordshire

About me: I’m professional session musician working predominantly in theatre. I’m currently in the band for Dear Evan Hansen at the Noel Coward
Theatre and have previously played for numerous other productions in the West End including Jersey Boys, The Bodyguard, The Book of Mormon,
Hamilton and many more. I’m a father to a 5 year old and have a very supportive wife, despite the amount of bikes I now have.

Previous Experience: Next-to-none. I did a sprint triathlon about 10 years ago. I enjoyed it but couldn’t really afford to take it seriously at the time.

Current Goals: A “homemade” IM 70.3 after a postponement to my race in Venice in May due to Covid-19. I aim to complete the distances around
Bedfordshire on 02/05/21. IM 70.3 in Greece in October is on the list too.
A future goal would be for me to complete a full distance Ironman, preferably in the US.

Bucket list Events: Ironman Cozumel.

Other: I turned to triathlon in May 2020 after being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, which I managed to reverse in 6 months through training for my
first IM 70.3. As tough as it sometimes is, training during the current circumstances we find ourselves in has been a real saviour for me. Not just
physically, but mentally. The new focus and small victories every time I tie my shoes and leave the house to run, bike or swim is invaluable.


Name:  Kerry O’Shea

Age: 41

Location: Colchester, Essex. 

About me:  I work full time in a Project Management Office for an Insurance company in London. I live with my husband Paul and our cat Missy. 

Previous experience:  Growing up I actually hated anything athletics and dreaded having to do any running…..if only my PE teacher could see me now! It was actually a good friend of mine who inspired me to give running a go and set me a challenge to do the run leg of her first 70.3. Watching her swimming in a beautiful lake with the mist just clearing put a seed in my head that I might actually want to learn to swim! I bought a bike, booked swimming lessons and started my triathlon journey! I’ve since completed three 70.3 distances as well as a fair few shorter distance events. My new love is also wild swimming and I’ve kept my winter dipping up until the recent lockdown. Coldest swim being 2.7 degrees.

Current goals: Staying injury free, All round improvements in Swim, Bike, Run.  

Bucket list events:  For 2021 any events would be lovely. Long Course Weekend, Brutal Triathlon, Laguna Phuket Triathlon (Thailand), Castle to Coast Triathlon…too many to list ha

Any other random facts:  I can’t think of any!!!


Name:  Lisa McDonald. 

Age: 43

Location: Blyth, Northumberland

About me: I am a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner currently training at Newcastle University and working full time. I began my psychology studies at the age of 36 after working in admin since leaving school. I have a border collie puppy and a cat.  I am married with 2 sons who are “grown up”. 

Previous experience: Complete newbie never done any events 

Current goals: Run faster and learning to swim well to be able to complete a sprint triathlon by August 2021 (fingers crossed)

Bucket list events: ? inspire me

Any other random facts:We got married in Las Vegas