Marc Scott - Pre Euro XC - USA Athletics Scholarships

Marc Scott – Pre Euro XC

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On a cold windy day every November, in an inconspicuous field in Indiana, some 500 athletes both American and from all corners of the world put their previous 6 months of hard work on the line, pursuing team and individual glory.

For the British and Irish athletes this is the culmination of the sacrifices they’ve made in leaving home. This race is what makes all of that worthwhile. They compete in the premier collegiate competition in the world and arguably the deepest field assembled. A good run and a fantastic run can mean a difference of 100 places.

3 weeks ago was no different for the many British athletes involved as Kate Avery cemented her name among the exclusive list of athletes who have an NCAA title on their mantelpiece and the even more exceptional list of British NCAA champions.

In the men’s race, Marc Scott arguably flew under the radar (not to Tom Purnell) and surprised many with his astounding 14th place finish. As both of these athletes lace up their muddy XC spikes one last time at the Europeans before heading to the flatter and faster world of an NCAA Indoor season, I caught up with Marc Scott and got his thoughts on his season so far

First of all, congratulations on an incredible run at NCAA championships. How did the race go for you?

Thank you, the race went great, I exceeded my expectation which is always a bonus at the NCAA meet. The race went out fast (it always does), and then settled after 1k. I found myself at the front which I anticipated. If you don’t get out fast, this is a huge mistake, especially in this race. The pace was kept controlled until 6k and then gradually increased. The last 3k was hard work but once you have your position you don’t want to give it up! I kept the group in front of me and pushed the last kilometre, taking 5 people in the LONG 400m home straight. Delighted with 14th place.

Taking that positive momentum forward into the European trial, he placed 9th at the trial and was 3rd U23. How was this race on the back of the NCAA?

The trial was always going to be tough, not just because of 3 back to back 10k’s and travelling, just the loaded field which was assembled. Half way struck and my legs felt heavy, they felt this way throughout the rest of the race. It was only to be expected with The Midwest Regionals and then The NCAAs. A 3rd placed finish was all which was required of me.

How has your recovery from these two races been going? Have you altered your training in order to get through these races and perform best when it matters?

My recovery has been successful so far, I have seen my local physio multiple times who has done a great job in getting me prepared. In regards to training, I have had a consistent 3 weeks. I did not want to alter much due to the previous success I have had. It’s always better to keep your routine.

How has the trip been so far?

I am currently on the train to Heathrow Airport; so far it’s been pretty boring! I’m sure it will liven up when I meet the team at Heathrow.

How is the course?

As I have not yet seen the course I can’t really comment. From the pictures I have seen, there is around 5 inches of snow. Maybe a true cross country!? The weather is supposed to get warmer throughout the next few days which will melt the snow and I suspect will produce some mud. The race consists of 1 short and 5 longer laps, on rough terrain with some slight undulations. I’m expecting a real tough race.

What is your mentality going into the race?

Going into the race I am full of confidence. I have no reason not to be. I feel we have a strong contention for a team medal and perhaps an individual medal for one of our team members! I would be thrilled with a top 10 finish at the Euro Cross.

Many athletes have transitioned well from an NCAA XC to the Euro XC, what do you think are the essential elements in allowing this to occur?

I think the main essential element which allows this transition to occur is the consistency throughout the 3 weeks of training when returning home. Changing up training in this time period can obliterate hard work already done. I feel it is very important to race knowing you are going in as well prepared as possible, and with a routine you can rely on.

Have you managed to balance studies with all this racing?

With myself returning home 4 weeks before final exams, it was a decision I had to commit to early in the season. I spoke with professors and let them know my intentions. I ended up taking 3 final exams early (teaching myself the material) and doing a couple of assignments when I arrived home. This was stressful at the time, especially with Regionals and NCAAs also, but it has paid off with the current situation I am in.

What do you do to relax before a race?

Typically I do nothing. I know many people listen to music and have a designated routine, but I don’t necessarily do anything of this manner. I tend to just sit down and talk/chill with my teammates.

If you were to give any advice to someone considering the move to the states, what would it be?

First of all, don’t be put off by the stereotypes people have with the NCAA system (burnout, mileage, too much racing). It is important to speak with a coach which will fit with you best, and there will be plenty of them. Secondly, make the most of your running career! You won’t be running your whole life, venture out and see what you can achieve. An opportunity like this doesn’t present itself very often, grasp it with both hands. A decision you will not regret.

Thanks for your time and good luck to you and the rest of the team.

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