Athletics

Mark English stepping up his comeback as Rio Olympics loom

English was out for three months through a broken bone in his foot
Picture by Kieth McClure
Malcolm McCausland

MARK English continues his race against time to be fit for the Olympics when he runs in the London Anniversary Games tomorrow on the track where he set his personal best of 1:44.84s almost exactly three years ago.

It will be the Letterkenny man’s second 800m race of the week after running 1:47.84s behind Olympic champion David Rudisha (1:43.35s) in Budapest on Monday night.

Hungary was only English’s second race of the season after missing three months through a broken bone in his foot.

The UCD student opened his account last month when he retained his national 800m title at a cool and windy Morton Stadium.

English, who faces Rudisha again tomorrow, as well as Commonwealth and African champion Nijel Amos, plans another race before the games in Brazil.

“Essentially I had spent six weeks in a boot and wasn’t able to run a step for three whole months,” said the Sky Academy Sports Scholar.

“It started when I fractured my foot before the World Indoors at the start of March.

“It was a huge disappointment for me because I had raced well all indoor season, beating a World indoor champion and Olympic bronze medallist from London.”

English’s rehabilitation involved using an anti-gravity treadmill to allow his foot to gradually return to the impact of full weight-bearing running.

He started running at 60 per cent body weight and then ramped that up by five per cent every three to four days, depending on how his foot felt.

By the time he reached about 75-80 per cent, he was able to start doing proper sessions on it.

On his off days, he did bike sessions that were aerobic, anaerobic or a mixture of both work-outs.

His coach Steve Magness sent him on a list of them and he would select which ones to do.

“I’ve been very lucky to have a great team around me expediting the rehab process over the past few months,” said English.

“I want to thank all the medical staff at Athletics Ireland, Sport Ireland, Cappagh Orthopaedic Hospital, and many more who helped diagnose and treat this injury.

“Ever since watching Sonia O’Sullivan winning her Olympic medal in Sydney (2000) back in primary school, I’ve always tuned into it and hoped that one day I’d be there competing on that stage. In five weeks, I plan on realising that dream.

Athletics

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