Thursday, October 3, 2013

Bill Scanlan ...The Thinking Triathlete

Ironman France 2010





I first met Bill way back in 2006 . I had started training with Swim Coach Ray Utting at Bayswater . Bill swam in the first lane and was already an Ironman and I was in awe . It took several months before I had enough nerve to talk to him and since then he probably has regretted it as I used to catch up with him from time to time in the city just to talk triathlon. For those who do know him he is the genuine all round nice guy despite his scary fast credentials. He epitomizes all that is good about the sport when I first started . There was very little by way of  elitism in the sport .Everyone was helpful and encouraging and supportive .Since then paths have diverged and Bill has had an interesting triathlon history with a short stint as a Pro and some great success and times . I look forward to his return to endurance racing but am heartened that he enjoys his new role as Husband and father.

  1. Full name: Bill Scanlan
  2. Age Group: I guess I would be in 35-39 now
  3. Profession: Economist
  4. Years in profession: 10+
  5. Brief backgound :Where you grew up and were you into sports when you were younger? I grew up in Guildford (still live there in fact) and was never really into sport as a youngster. My family was not a sporty family at all but I did spend much of my early days tearing around Guildford on a bike. I would not really consider it sport – it was just what we did as kids back then. I remember I always used to race home from school on my bike as fast as I possibly could. Not because I was dying to get home but just because I loved the feeling of going fast. All the other kids used to cruise home and they all thought I was strange. I never thought about it much at the time but I guess it was a sign of where my life was heading.
  6. How many years have you been participating in Triathlons: I started triathlon in 1997 and competed up until 2012, with 2-3 years off somewhere along the way.
  7. When did you realize you’d been bitten by the triathlon bug? I guess winning my age group in my first race (a novice race) probably cemented my interest in triathlon. But I had probably decided even before that. I tend to think about things a lot and then once I have made my mind up, I am all in and this is what I did with triathlon.
  8. How did you get started in Triathlons: Prior to triathlon, I played competitive basketball but as I progressed through the ranks I found it harder and harder to compete with guys that just had this uncanny natural and athletic ability (and height!). Also sometimes I would find the politics and ego clashes that come with team sports to be a little frustrating. I friend of mine who used to run marathons and loved endurance sports suggested I try triathlon, so I did.....
  9. Triathlon experience: As long or as brief as you like: I raced age group for maybe 10 years, progressing from short races to Olympic Distance, to Half IM and eventually IM (back then people used to progress up to IM whereas this is not so much the done thing these days). I have raced in Kona twice in 2007 and 2008. In 2009, my wife and I had the opportunity to travel and for me to focus on triathlon so we went to France to live and I turned professional probably some time in 2010. I raced in France for a club (Triathl’aix) for a number of seasons and did a bit of racing in Australia during this time but my main focus was the European season. In 2012, a new boy came into our lives and since then triathlon has taken a back seat to family life.
  10. Walk us through your active lifestyle.  What is an average day when you are training for an ironman: Hard to answer that one as there were no real average days. In France I used to train about 25hrs per week – not a huge amount but there was always a lot of intensity. This is because, I had the endurance side of things under control but for me getting FAST was the harder thing. I guess I would swim most mornings. Bike during the day and then often run in the evenings. There would often be a couple of gym sessions per week as well. I think most of my training was focused on the bike as this is where we thought the most gains could be made.
  11. Now that you are not racing , what is an average week of training like and what do you do to stay fit? Recently I have been trying some new things out because I like to learn and experience different sports. I have been getting into rowing (which can be really hard work) and done a bit of track cycling too which is great fun. I commute to work on a bike every day and try to get out on the weekends for little stints of riding, running or swimming. Certainly nothing major though, just regular exercise to help keep me sane.
  12. When taking on an ironman event, how do you maintain your balance of work, life and family? This is something that is very hard to do and one of the reasons why I have not (to date) tried to mix IM and fatherhood. If I think back to being an age grouper, I think it boils down to being efficient with your time, having an understanding partner, cooperating and just accepting the fact that there will not be much time for leisure given your lifestyle choice. 


    The Col d'Izoard 2011
  13. How does an active physical lifestyle tie in to your work ?( if at all) These days my work is basically office work so there is not much physical activity going on there. But I do commute into work on the bike and I try to get out at lunch times for a run or gym session when I can.