Michael has been a prodigious talent through the ages and is a record breaking 5 times British Champion. London 2012 unfortunately wasn’t the home Olympics that Michael had dreamed of but this has made him more determined for the future.
With an athlete’s life being so unpredictable, Barrie’s support has been a huge peace of mind for Michael, who knew Barrie would always step in when he needed the likes of last minute flights to a training camp abroad or expensive but urgent physiotherapy. Barrie also funded an expensive machine that has helped aid Michael’s recovery from a double hernia operation.
Barrie and Michael immediately got on like a house on fire and share a passion for Liverpool FC.
Michael is relaxed and easy going which transcends onto the track, making blood, sweat and tears look easy through his smooth running technique. He is well known for his superstition of wearing a ‘lucky’ t-shirt underneath his race vest which is slowly disappearing due to his increasing attitude that you make your own luck.
He has a Beagle called Cooper and is a huge Liverpool FC fan, attending games with his dad when he can and has also hosted a couple of times in our Liverpool FC Box 4 Kids. Aside from being a general sports nut, he has a love of old school R&B, motown, rock and ska music and enjoys getting creative in the kitchen (he is a big fan of Jamie Oliver).
At school, Michael was obsessed with sport which at times made it difficult to focus on other subjects. Science was his weak subject but due to his persevering nature, he went onto study Biology at AS Level, which followed with a degree in History at Liverpool John Moores University.
If Michael hadn’t chosen to progress his running, he saw himself being a PE or history teacher and finds that his school visits give him the opportunity to channel this vision. He believes that a relaxed, light hearted approach is the best way to get young people interested and enjoying being more active and healthy. Michael delivers activity sessions based on combining the mental and physical, something that is required in his event.
How do you deal with pressure?
I practice psychological techniques which involve exercising my chimp (talking through my negative thoughts). We all get nervous and anxious, its natural and we should embrace it. What you have to do is channel that energy in the right direction.
Any ideas of what you will do when you retire from sport?
At the moment I am not too sure. I'm still too focused on my athletics and know I have so much to achieve. I'd love to put something back into sport though so maybe coaching could be on the cards.
If you could choose or make up a superpower, what would it be?
Super speed, Usain Bolt wouldn't have a chance!
What is your relationship with Barrie like?
My relationship with Barrie
is almost like having a second coach or a second girlfriend: he always wants to know what’s going on. If you need him he’s there for you and having that safety net is comforting. It is amazing to have someone who’s going to back you all the way, no matter what.
What are your tips on nutrition?
Practice the 80:20 or 90:10 rule with your eating. For me I consume 42 meals or snacks a week (that's 6 a day) so if I use the 80:20 rule I can have 8 naughty meals or snacks per week or around 1 a day. Obviously I am able to have more due to the training I do. Be realistic with your own eating, don't get too obsessed with being healthy but keep it balanced, aim for at least ‘traffic lights' on every plate (red, orange & green fruit or veg).
What makes you laugh?
Richard Pryor, The Inbetweeners, QI, my dog Cooper and Everton.