"So, what is KOTWF?" is a question we get a lot. While we can't deny we quite like the air of mystery and intrigue we've apparently given ourselves, we also want clarity in our identity. After all, it's hard to know where you're going if you don't understand where you came from. Sam Village, who founded KOTWF in late 2019, gives a bit of insight into the mission, the brand pillars and the future of our community.
What is KOTWF?
First of all, the name isn't as meaningful as may seem. When Sam was looking for inspiration for his business, he turned to his uncle. "Well, I just listened to this Adam Ant record called 'Kings of the Wild Frontier'. Why don't you just call it that?", he said. And that was that.
At the time, Sam had an idea to start an adventure training brand, so the title really fit. "I wanted to start this business where we would take people on training camps with an element of challenge and adventure. For example, we could go surfing in Morocco, or we could go skiing, strap on some touring bindings and skins and practice for a heli jump on the last day. I basically wanted to train people without them necessarily being aware that they were training, the training was the trip," he explains. There was no intention to build anything physical at that point.
However, Sam's career as a trainer and performance coach then pulled him into the high-octane world of F1 and motorsport in 2013, and the project got parked. It wasn't until November 2019 that Sam stumbled upon a space in Brentford that he thought would be perfect for his racing drivers. "There were all these really cool vintage cars, with lots of other exciting businesses moving in, and I just thought it would be the perfect place to coach my drivers away from the big gyms."
The first KOTWF hub was born, but Sam's mind quickly began racing almost as quickly as his drivers. He had a background in triathlon, a passion for endurance sports and had just completed a Masters degree in psychology. Why not extend the service he provides for his racing drivers to endurance athletes too? In his words: "We provide physiological testing, strength and conditioning, sports therapy and nutritional support to my drivers and professional athletes - many of the things a national federation would offer. In a sense, I wanted to become a sort of 'independent federation' that could offer that same support to endurance athletes so that they can maximise their potential and live their athletic dreams. If you want to stick to the driving theme, I wanted to provide a pit crew for athletes of all levels."
None of this would be possible without a fantastic team of seasoned experts and colleagues. Ed Hewett, who had worked alongside Sam in F1 and Formula E for many years, co-founded the business and sits as a director. He also leads on the apparel front, but more on that later. Ben Hammond, MSc in Space Physiology, recently came in after a successful time at McLaren Human Performance to help manage and act as a Senior Performance Coach. His analytical style dovetails really nicely with Sam's holistic approach to help the drivers reach and maintain their potential.
On the endurance coaching front, professional triathlete India Lee, who had known Sam since 2014, quickly came on board as KOTWF's first sponsored athlete and triathlon coach. Matt Welsh raced triathlons alongside Sam since 2011 and also joined the crew. He coaches a fantastic group of runners at premier London athletics club Belgrave Harriers and brings that same expertise to KOTWF.
Of course, it's very hard to train smart without data. Esther Goldsmith, who works as a sports scientist for Orreco and its FitrWoman app, is our physiologist. Everything from VO2max and lactate testing to hormone profiles is her bag. She is backed up by Saj Imran, a professional Muay Thai Fighter and Boxing Coach, Heloise Brown, a sports science student at University of Surrey, our former professional dancer and pilates instructor, Melissa Hetherington, and the magic hands of Cristian Stanis who is always on hand for sports therapy. It's fair to say our Wild Frontier royalty is catered for on all fronts.