His performance at the 2014 European Outdoor Championships in Zurich brought him 800m bronze, and at the start of his 2015 season, Mark English backed it all up with a silver medal performance of 1:47.20 for Ireland at the European Indoor Championships in Prague.
Even with several obstacles thrown his way, it was a pretty successful year for the Irish middle-distance runner and he spoke about his 2015 season: “It started good. I ran a qualifier (1:45.83), in Hengelo which set me up nicely, then a few things happened. I got injured, my granddad died, then my classmates died, and the turbulence started around there and then.
“I only really started to get into the swing of things by around August and it turned out fine in the end given the circumstances.
“With a good consistent winter’s training, I know that I should get into that 1:44 territory and really start to challenge the two European medallists from the World Championships, so I’m excited about next season’s prospects.”
After proving that he is a top class indoor performer, English spoke of his ability to transition his indoor capabilities to outdoor: “Making sure that I take a short break after the indoor season is important. For me it’s important to do an indoor season and start beating these guys before I hit the outdoor.
“Getting a good consistent winter’s training is going to be the key and also not having any injuries or set-backs.”
Being able to overcome obstacles is something that is required of most athletes, and we asked him of his ability to get over his set-backs earlier this year, and get into the right zone to focus on competing: “There were a chain of events but putting it all into perspective, it teaches you to use the time that you’re given wisely, train everyday, and make sure you give it your best go when you reach that start line. That is what I try to do and that is my goal for next year.”
At the IAAF World Championships, English competed admirably throughout the rounds of the men’s 800m which got him to the semi-finals. When asked about what he will be taking with him as a learning experience in preparation for Rio 2016, he stated: “I was able to turnaround the heats fairly well. I ran 1:46 and qualified as the fastest loser, then finished fifth in the semi’s in the fastest semi-final race (1:45.55).
“I think what I’ve learnt, is that I now know how to qualify through the heats and I almost know how to qualify for the semi-final. When I get in the actual physical shape to do it, I will have that mental preparation from Beijing to know how to race.”
Facts about Mark English
Interview by Marilyn Okoro
Feature & Photography by TrackField97.com