People are getting retrenched and losing their jobs. People are turning to alternative sources of income, like starting home-based baking businesses. It is a strange time, one that brings uncertainty, but also courage.

Richard Farren and Sophie King chose this exact period to chase their dreams. The goal is to turn professional in triathlon in a year’s time. In August, they left their lives in Singapore behind and moved to the United Kingdom to start their #oneyeartogopro journey.

“We are living the dream,” said Richard, who was the country head of ProActiv Sports in Singapore before they left. “Don’t get me wrong – every day is a challenge with the sheer amount of training and impact on the body. But it is exciting to be improving all the time and working towards our end goal.”

With the majority of races cancelled, the need for motivation to keep training is stronger but Richard and Sophie are more determined than ever. They also launched an online triathlon training programme Tri2.

“We are both very ambitious and we love triathlon. We were achieving good results even whilst trying to balance busy full-time jobs alongside training. We just questioned how amazing it would be if we could train full-time to see what we could achieve.” Sophie, who was a primary school teacher at an international school in Singapore, added.

“He’s 30 and I’m 32 and it’s not going to be easy, as we may have left it too late, but we didn’t want to look back and regret not giving it a good go.”

You can say this was a match made in Heaven.

Both Richard and Sophie were working in Singapore, each living their obsession with triathlon, yet it wasn’t a race or a mutual triathlon friend that brought them together.

It was Tinder – an online dating app for the uninitiated – that did.

After they knew each other, they realised they had “tons of mutual triathlon friends” who planned to set Richard and Sophie up, but just never did. Well, thank goodness for Tinder.

One day after work, they sat down on the sofa to discuss their plans for the next year. It wasn’t a long conversation – perhaps just an hour – but it felt completely right and they decided to quit their full-time jobs, start their own triathlon company (www.tri2.org) and train to become professional triathletes.

Made for the sport

Even though they are both relatively new to triathlon, Richard and Sophie have made good progress in the sport.

Sophie broke her leg at 17 and it took her a whole decade to rediscover her love for sport. In 2015, she started a blog called “100 Healthy Days” to track her journey back to health and fitness. She bought a bicycle, did some sprint triathlons and Ironman 70.3 races, scored podium finishes but it was mostly for the fun of it.

She only became more serious about triathlons after meeting Richard. Under his guidance, in just four months, she won her age group at the Ironman 70.3 Xiamen in 2019 – which qualified her for the Ironman World Championship in Kona or the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Taupo, New Zealand. She took the latter; Kona would have to wait.

Coming from a background of rugby and athletics, Richard had aspirations to become a professional rugby player when he was younger but a dislocated knee at a crucial stage put him out of that for good.

Wanting a non-contact sport, Richard was inspired by the Brownlee brothers who took gold and bronze at the 2012 London Olympics. He dabbled a little in the sport but only got hooked in 2017 when he moved to Singapore.

In the blistering hot conditions of Ironman 70.3 Danang, Vietnam in 2018, he came off the bike in eighth and ran down his competitors one by one to finish fourth and qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship 2019 in Nice, France. He has also chocked up several podium finishes in various multisport races in Asia.

Bright and bold

Having raced in the Southeast Asian region during their time in Singapore, both of them came to know of PURPOSE after seeing people wearing the trisuits.

“I didn’t want to wear just another boring black trisuit, so I did a little research online and discovered PURPOSE. I just love the colour and design!” Sophie said.

“When I got my first PURPOSE trisuit, I loved the quality and fit, so we also bought the long sleeved cycling tops which we always get complimented on. The designs are bright, bold and we love them!”

To match Sophie, Richard ordered his own PURPOSE trisuit and long sleeved cycling top in blue.

“When Sophie told me she wanted an exciting trisuit, we checked out PURPOSE and she found her dream design as she loves pink. We are really impressed with PURPOSE (Sophie won the Ironman 70.3 Xiamen wearing it) so I ordered my own in blue to match. We get complimented all the time cycling around the UK so we hope PURPOSE will make its way to Europe!” he added.