An interview with Marc Austin, Atos Brand Ambassador for Glasgow 2018 European Championships and British Triathlete
The Glasgow 2018 European Championships will be capturing the moment (#TheMoment) athletes become champions, what has been your defining moment as an athlete?
My defining moment was four years ago in the triathlon event at Strathclyde Country Park when I raced at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games for the first time. I had a great experience racing in front of a home crowd. Then again four years later, this year at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games I took the bronze medal which was really good. So, both of my key moments have been in the Scotland vest at the Commonwealth Games.
So how important is fast, reliable and accurate Timing, Scoring and Results (TSR) technology to athletes and fans?
Very important, the first thing that we do when we finish the race is look at the results. There’s people across the world wanting to know every single split, especially in triathlon where there’s three events and two transitions. So everyone is very eager to find out as soon as people finish. In some of the sports where it can come down to hundredths of a second you need to have the faith that the timing board is going to get the right result and pick the right winner. When world records have been broken you want to know that it’s been accurate.
How exciting is it for you when you cross the finish line and be able to look up and be able to immediately see your time and results?
It definitely is! I remember being quite young in swimming races and the first thing that I would do is look up at the board to see if I had got a personal best or even just to see my splits. I’ve always been pretty orientated towards my times and that’s where I gauge how I’m doing. For me how fast my time is, is always the first thing that pops into my head when crossing the line.
How has your life as an athlete evolved thanks to the adoption of technology? And what do you think its importance will be in the future?
I use technology a lot in my training just now; it’s very important. I use Garmins when I run and cycle, and heart rate monitors and power monitors on the bike, so a lot of my training is dictated by a computer. You’ve got to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to things like that, you can’t be living in the dark ages and training off a stop watch these days, you’ve got to be knowing exactly what you’re doing and when you’re doing it. In the future, possibly technical analysis will be one of the things that comes in, so filming and computer programmes that can decipher whether your technique is efficient or not – but it’s hard to predict.
And why do you have to be on the vanguard of technology? Does it give you a competitive advantage?
Yes exactly, it gives you a competitive advantage because you know exactly what you are doing and everything is measurable. You can measure exactly how fast you’re running and with heart rate exactly how hard you’re working, and also compare to see if training is working. So that’s the main way I would use technology as a comparison and to know I’m working in the right zones in my training.
Do you like staying digitally connected to the action of the Championships or any other sporting event that you are part of?
Yes definitely! And especially with a lot of training it can be quite difficult so it’s good to have things on your phone that you can nip in and out of and catch up on the latest things that are going on. I mean with the Tour de France right now it’s good to, even if I’m on my bike, look at my phone to see what’s happening and get the in-time action.
What do you like about the Glasgow 2018 European Championships app?
It’s really good - the Glasgow 2018 app will allow me to to stay up to date with all the racing that’s going on, especially as I will be having a pretty busy week at that time and perhaps won’t get the chance to watch everything, so it will be good to see who is doing well and what’s coming up through my mobile device.
Why is Glasgow a great place to compete?
I think Glasgow is great place for sport. It’s actually the only city in the world that can host every discipline of cycling at the moment. I train in Glasgow and it’s great for everything I do: running, cycling and swimming and also some variants of that. I like to go into the hills on the bike and run as well. It’s got everything I need and more for what I do, which is a pretty demanding sport in terms of resources, so I think it’s a great place to be able to do sport.
I wasn’t aware of that, with Glasgow being the only city In the world..
Only recently since building the BMX track at Knightswood, and it’s just finished so now it’s the only city in the world – pretty good.
Great. So how are the Glasgow 2018 European Championships different from other international sporting events?
I guess the Glasgow 2018 European Championships are slightly smaller compared to other multi-sports like the Olympics for example, but at the same time it just gives Glasgow an opportunity to showcase international sport and multiple different disciplines. For me, it’s another great opportunity to be racing in front of a home crowd, which I got the opportunity to do at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games and didn’t think I would get the opportunity to do again.
And lastly, how have you prepared for the Glasgow 2018 European Championships?
With a lot of hard training, slightly different to how I was preparing for the Commonwealth Games earlier in the year because it’s an Olympic distance race. So I am doing a lot of quite gruelling sessions, but the motivation is pretty high because I’m really excited to race so it’s been very enjoyable preparing for it. Everything has been going pretty well so I’m looking forward to it.
You said today was an easy day of training for you. What does an easy day of training look like?
Yes, so I swam this morning, then I’ll do gym and an easy run this afternoon, and if the weather is nice I will head out for a spin on the bike this evening, but all pretty easy stuff. I quite like it when it’s easy, just making the most of it and enjoying going out on the bike rather than worrying about how fast I have to go. I take in the sights which is nice.
Atos is the Proud Provider of Timing, Scoring and Results for Cycling, Golf, Gymnastics and Triathlon at the Glasgow 2018 European Championships, and the Digital Media and Central Results Service Provider across all sports.