My story: 'When my athletic career ends, I need to be qualified'
Marcus Lawler | IT Carlow
You could almost say Marcus Lawler was born to run, with his mother, Patricia Almond Lawler, who is also his coach, naming him after world-class Irish athlete Marcus O'Sullivan.
The 22-year-old sprinter from Carlow is now well on track to become one of Ireland's fastest runners, but it hasn't interfered with his studies.
He is clearly destined for a bright future on the track. His recent achievements include a new Irish under-23 record in Germany in June, with the third fastest 100m time (10.30secs) ever by an Irish runner. In the same month, he set a personal best for the 200m, at the European Team Championships, the fifth fastest Irishman ever over that distance.
His athletic promise was obvious as a schoolboy and he considered taking a year out afterwards to train full-time. "Because I showed promise at a young age, that was a very realistic option," he says.
But, even the best athletes must call it a day sometime and, as a school-leaver, he was conscious of the importance of building qualifications that will support a career, when his running days are over.
"I only have a certain amount of time at this and when it ends, I need to be qualified," he says.
His talent meant he was in big demand, with colleges, both in Ireland and in the US, offering him scholarships. "But my thinking in choosing a college was to stay close to my coach, my mother," says Marcus who enrolled in the Institute of Technology Carlow, where he has been an elite sports scholar.
He completed the Level 7 BA in Business Management, from which he was able to progress, in fourth year, to the Level 8 BA (Hons) in Sports Management and Coaching. He graduated this summer and is now set to pursue a part-time Master's in Strength and Conditioning, in Carlow.
Unfortunately, after his achievements in June, Marcus later suffered a hamstring injury, but is preparing to hit the competitive starting blocks again and, tomorrow, he flies to the World University Games in Taipei.