British Triathlon Federation 60-seconds with the Great Britain Age-Group Team

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60-seconds with the Great Britain Age-Group Team

In a series of features looking behind the athletes that make up the Great Britain Age-Group Team, British Triathlon spoke to Tom Lawton earlier this week about the upcoming ETU Middle Distance Triathlon European Championships in Barcelona

Date Published: 17 May 2013

Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I'm a 32-year-old junior doctor specialising in intensive care. I have a wife, two cats, and a bike-obsessed 1-year-old. Whilst I used to be quite fit, and rowed in the University Boat Race, I used the excuse of an injury to severely "let myself go" and ended up leaving a 15-stone dent for too long in the sofa.
What made you get involved in triathlon?
A friend married a triathlete in 2010. Whilst at their wedding in the US, a group of us who had been friends at university (including the groom) decided that it would be a good idea to return to fitness and to try triathlon; specifically to follow our philosophy of "If You Can't Do It Well, Do It Hard" by starting with an Ironman. 
Six months later I tried to rally the forces but found a variety of excuses came my way. Luckily, my heavily pregnant wife agreed on a holiday to Tenby and I started training for Ironman Wales 2011. 
Since then, I've cut back the race distance a little.
What does your average training week look like?
The mainstay of my training is a cycle commute. As a junior doctor, we can be made to move every six months and I spent a while working a hilly 20-mile commute away, thankfully now it's about 8 miles. 
To supplement this, I try to swim twice a week (once in a group session with the David Lloyd Leeds triathletes, once solo), run twice a week (one long run on a Sunday, one interval session), and ride twice a week (one long ride on Saturday with the CrossTrax racing team, and one interval session on the turbo - often with a friend from work who is just taking up triathlon).
What influenced you to try and qualify to be a GB Age-Group Team triathlete?
The aim in 2011 was to prove I could complete an iron distance race, but I finished it feeling I hadn't really worked as hard as I could. So, I decided to try 2012 as a proper triathlete and see if I could go any faster. 
When I realised I could, and heard about the age-group system, I loved the idea of racing for my country - something I'd tried to do as a rower but had become ill during the selection process. I planned to try to qualify in 2013 and race in 2014 - and was pleasantly surprised to find my 2012 results were already good enough!
What does it mean to be part of the GB Age-Group Team?
The opportunity to race for your country; to feel the pride of being part of a massive team in what can be such an individual sport. It’s a great excuse to bring the bike on holiday!
What are your race expectations for the event, how has your preparation gone?
Sadly not so great at the moment; I was seriously injured by a van whilst riding to work at the end of January. I'm still awaiting further facial surgery but managed to get back to training within six weeks of the accident. 
Thankfully, the Leigh Day & Co personal injury cover I have with my Triathlon England membership is helping me get that side of things sorted out.
It took a surprising amount of my fitness away - I'm still not back to where I was in December but I'm improving fast! I'm hoping to use my experience out here to come back stronger next year.
If you had to tweet one word about your triathlon experience, what would it be?
More! (a quote from my son)
Tom competes in the 30 to 34 age-group this weekend in Barcelona. ‘Like’ this article to wish the team luck!
Find out more about competing for the Great Britain Age-Group Team here

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