Winning the Race: Interview with Courtney Atkinson
Josh Campbell: When and how did you get started doing Triathlons?
Courtney Atkinson: Grew up in the warmer climate of Australia on the Gold coast, Queensland so was always in the water swimming competitively, surfing and also competing in ocean variety of Ironman (Surf Life Saving) It wasn’t til later in my teens that I realized I was better suited to land and had a natural ability to run long distances fast. Triathlon was announced as an Olympic sport so it was a natural progression from being able to swim and run at a high level, learn the bike and aim to become an Australian Olympian.
JC: What do you do with Red Bull? How do they support you?
CA: I was one for the first few RedBull Australian athletes brought onboard when RedBull landed down under back at the beginning of the year 2000’s. What began as purely branding in competition that i was racing on TV here in Australia has continually evolved overtime where what many public and other sportspeople don’t realize is that RedBull will go out of their way to help an athlete reach their goals in behind the scenes innovative ways involving sourcing latest technology, coaching, recover methods, out of the box ideas to improve in a particular sport. It is truly the most epic company in sport to be involved with. Some of my most memorable moments have come racing for RedBull teams in global adventure events like a day race around Switzerland or this unique event in Rio involving Ocean swimming, MTB to top of Christo, HangGliding and I finished with a soft sand half marathon along Cococbana Beach.
JC: What has been your most memorable moment in your sport?
CA: Walking into the opening ceremony with the Australian Olympic team in London is up there. I missed out on doing it in Beijing and regretted it. Racing is like a job, every race is a different day but really the same shit. It’s the experience around the races, the places the things you do that stick in my mind.
JC: How much Red Bull do you think you have consumed in your life?
CA: Wow…a crap load! well over a decade of cases arriving at my door each month. Most of it consumed in training but there have also been some big benders going back a few years that plenty got consumed mixed with unnamed alcoholic sources
JC: Do you have a favorite event or do you like all 3?
CA: When I am running free and well nothing beats the feeling of running….especially out on the trails by myself in the Australian bush.
JC: What do you like to do when you’re not competing?
CA: Two young kids (2yr & 7yr) keep me pretty busy these days. My boy who is the 2 yr old just loves bikes so I am pretty stoked. I reckon he racks up around 3-4hrs a day on a balance bike around the house thinking it is a moto. Can’t wait til he is big enough to get on an MTB and can come ride the trails with me.
JC: Do you have any rituals or anything that you do before each race?
CA: When I am on a good role of races I don’t like to change my race suit I am wearing! Early last year I went through a period of over 6 months undefeated in events I was racing from off-road triathlon to long course 6hr races in heat of Thailand, Philippines. Suit was a bloody dirty mess when I finally got rid of it. But not complaining when I hit form like that.
JC: What is the best part of living in Australia?
CA: It’s HOME. I travelled a lot since leaving school nothing beats coming home. The Aussies are generally pretty laid back which suits having time and doing lots of sports and recreation. The terrain. I live on some of the best beaches in the world but only 10k inland we have some of the best riding terrain for me to train that I could ask for. Now also have a forest close by with about 40k of single track for MTBing in it and plenty of fire trail to run.
JC: What advice would you give to aspiring triathletes?
CA: Be ready to work hard. Got to love what you do and do it for the right reasons. And with endurance sport consistency in training out weighs everything else.
JC: What is the next big step for your career?
CA: Since last Olympics I have been trying everything else multi-sport has to offer….adventure racing, Ironman triathlon, Xterra triathlon. At the end of this year I have a decision to make. Either go for my third Olympic Games or start exploring further my passion with nature and endurance and where that can take me….you’ll have to wait and see 🙂
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