Team Scotland’s first ever Triathlon medallist and first medallist in any sport of the Gold Coast 2018 Games, Marc Austin cemented his place in history by taking bronze with a magnificent performance in the Individual event. He held off the challenge of several top names including World and Olympic medallists Alister and Jonathan Brownlee, learning from the experience of Glasgow 2014 where he was part of a three-man breakaway with the Brownlee brothers but was eventually dropped.
Silver medallist at both the U23 and Junior World Championships, Marc turned his attention to Triathlon after finishing second at the Stirling Aquthlon at the age of 11. With our Sport Focus spotlight currently on Triathlon, we caught up with him for quick question and answer about his Commonwealth Games experience and his fight back to fitness from a heart problem.
What did it mean to you and for Triathlon to be Scotland’s first medallist of Gold Coast 2018?
I was really happy to finally have a medal that meant something to me. Until that point, I was proud of being an elite athlete, but there was no stand out performance that showed how hard I had worked over the years. To me the Commonwealth Games bronze represents that.
What are your memories of the Games?
It was a good experience, I trained really well with a good group of friends and arrived at the Village pretty relaxed. The race was nearly perfect and I enjoyed my time after it as well, trying to take it all in.
In what ways was your second Games different from your experience at Glasgow 2014? Did you feel more pressure?
In 2014 being part of Team Scotland definitely had a big impact on me as I’d been dreaming of that race since 2007. We had a really big group of guys training in Stirling as well and they all helped a lot in the prep for that race. I felt like I was racing for the group and the team as well as myself.
I think in 2018 I was a lot more focused on myself. It was a lot easier to prepare for as I knew what was coming. I had a better understanding of what it was going to take to medal. I felt that anything short of a medal was going to be a disappointment, but I didn’t really focus on that. Instead I thought about all the good preparation I’d done leading in and how much I deserved to race well.
Looking back two years on, what has the experience given you?
Growing up I always envisioned that training into Major Games was excruciating and unenjoyable from stories I’d read and documentaries I’d watched. Instead I enjoyed every moment of training into it, those few months leading in were some of the most enjoyable of my career, same for 2014. So my perception of what it takes to be the best has definitely changed in that regard.
What have you been doing since Gold Coast – both competitively and personally?
Unfortunately, I have been struggling with some heart issues since March 2019. It has been very up and down, with some false clearances and a lot of ambiguity around what the problem was/is. I have been able to train in the interim with set parameters around heart rate, so I trained all last year with the aim of racing in the late season. I spent a couple of months working on a farm at the start of this year, taking a break from the sport. Its now looking likely that I’m good to go again now and I’ve been training for just over a month.
Is Birmingham 2022 in your plans? What are your goals for the next two years?
Everything is a bit up in the air at the moment but my focus is on getting back to full fitness. If I can get back to racing at the level I was I’ll be content. My aims still lie in the Olympics and Commonwealth Games but whether its possible I’m not sure. I’ll be very grateful if I get the all clear to race again and certainly won’t take it for granted.
Everyone at Team Scotland is wishing Marc well in his continued recovery and we hope to see him back on the start line soon.