The bike ride normally starts early. What’s become a normal part of Marcell Scott’s routine would be considered by some to be unthinkable. Scott, one of Timber Sports rising multi-talented performers, muscles his bike over the Macdonald Bridge, which connects the cities of Halifax and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The routine eventually includes several grueling hills and covers almost eight miles. For Scott, one of the world’s top boom runners and log rollers, this is his normal.
Growing up in the small town of Barrington, Nova Scotia, about three hours south of Halifax, the 25-year old Scott learned to be creative in his training. Scott, who now lives in Halifax, bikes, canoes, and also rolls on a nearby lake, often by himself. “There’s no Y where I am so I start rolling on the lake in May as soon as the ice melts,” says Scott.
Marcel Scott’s Timber Sports story began at a young age. Scott, who jokes that he was “born on a log,” is not far off in his assessment. The nephew of legendary log roller Phil Scott, who won nine World titles, and cousin of five time World Champion Darren Hudson, Scott first got on a log at four years old. While he enjoyed rolling as a teenager, Scott’s true early talent was in the boom run. As a 16 year old in 2007, he showed up at the World Championships in Stillwater, Minnesota, and shockingly won the World Title. “I was basically known as Phil Scott’s nephew, says Scott. “Nobody knew who I was.” Since his win in 2007, Scott has finished in the top three in the boom every year at World Championships, including winning his second World Title last year. “If you’ve got strong legs and you can sprint and can run fast you can boom and that’s been proven,” says Scott. “Some guys who had track and field experience were the guys coming out on top and some did not have a lot of log rolling experience."
Scott’s final words on the topic beg the question, is he a sprinter who can Boom Run at a high level, or the rarest of Timber Sports athletes who will eventually be among the best on the boom and as a Log Roller as well? “I just really genuinely enjoy both events and I’ve always considered myself to be pretty good at both,” says Scott. “There are some guys who are strictly good at log rolling and some guys strictly good at boom running, but there are a handful of guys who can do both on a pretty good scale.”
Despite Scott’s enormous success as a pro boom runner, his answer on which he prefers, log rolling or the boom, is somewhat surprising. “Log rolling is still first of my list when it comes to my passion,” says Scott. “That’s where I got started. I got started with log rolling. It’s great to be good at both but I really do admire the guys that are better than me at log rolling and that’s what I strive to do, and being good at boom running is really just an extra bonus.”
Scott, who finished fifth at the Log Rolling World Championships last year, is currently ranked 11th overall in the world, and admits training for log rolling is much more of a commitment than Boom running.
“I think the boom run is one of those things that I keep more mentally in the back of my head. I know what I have to do to be a good boom runner and I know how to react on the logs and that just comes out of experience,” says Scott. “But for log rolling, that’s something you have to constantly work at. That was my primary concern when I moved to the city (Halifax). If you get away from it for a while it takes too much to get back in your groove. With log rolling it’s something you want to be training as much as possible. Definitely honing your skills and building leg muscle and quickness and reaction and working on transitions from front stepping to back stepping and training on smaller logs to work on speed.”
Scott occasionally trains on the log with his cousin Hudson, who lives about 3 hours away, but often has to get creative while mostly rolling by himself.
“I’ll play a game where I get someone to yell switch and switch and that basically triggers me to say which direction the logs going,” says Scott. “It sounds kind of easy, you just switch the direction of the log. But you make it so that you want to have that log switching the second your friend says switch and just maintaining control of that log and staying balanced and focused is a pretty cool training tool. Little things add up at the end of the day. That’s what I try and focus on, not necessarily the big picture of ‘let’s go win a world championship’. I just focus on the little things and everything else will fall into place.”
Still only 25 years old, Scott has lofty goals of improving and climbing the log rolling ladder. Maybe climbing all the way to the top.
“Absolutely,” says Scott. “The funny truth is a lot of the World Champions over history in log rolling have been guys in their late 20’s into their late 30’s, and in rare cases in their 40’s that have won, so it’s one of those sports where you’re not at your peek when you’re young. A lot of what I’ve found out talking to guys who have won or have a lot experience, is that it’s definitely a mental game and that comes with maturity.”
As Scott matures into his mid 20’s, he’s a good bet to make a run at another Boom Running World Title this month in Hayward. And like many before him, his boom run success could become a precursor to a second career as a champion log roller. There have been others who have excelled at the boom and eventually had great success as Log Rolling Champions. Scott’s cousin Hudson, J.R. Salzman, Jamie Fischer, as well as women’s champion Shana Verstegen are just a few. As Marcel Scott gears up for Hayward later this month, he’ll very likely keep grinding across the Macdonald Bridge every day. He’ll keep pushing himself on the log. And maybe, he’ll pull off another surprise like the one in 2007. And this time, maybe it will involve both boom running and log rolling.