My path into athletics has not been a smooth one. Running is perhaps one of the toughest sports in the world. The spectrum of emotions ranges from loneliness to euphoria, deep regret to feeling like the luckiest person alive. There have been large periods of my life where running has been nothing but a distant pastime. Since August 2011 however, running has consumed my life. The dream of one day becoming Olympic Champion has grown stronger, infecting every part of my daily life. I do not know if one day I will achieve my dream, but the not knowing is, for me, part of the excitement. Undoubtedly, I have sacrificed many friends and experiences to be where I am right now. However, having surrounded myself with new, positive, like minded friends in combination with my supportive family, the pain of those sacrifices is almost forgotten. In the end, I hope it will all be worthwhile.
The following is the foreword to my upcoming book ‘From Resus to Rio’ which will be available to buy following the Rio Olympics 2016. I wish you every success in following your own dream. Take it from me, it is not easy and the road will not be smooth. But if you commit to the path with all of your capability, with every breath and thought, you will never have any regrets.
If you have picked up this book, I imagine that you must have, at the very least, a superficial interest in sport. Throughout my first twenty six years of life, I never dreamed that I might become an Olympian, never mind an Olympic champion. I grew up in a middle class family in Northern Ireland, had a normal childhood and with a lot of hard work and effort managed to graduate as a medical doctor in July 2010. It was only during my first year in work that I decided to pursue my dream, to push my mind and body to its absolute limit and see where I might end up. It took me two years to reach my first world championships. Three until my first Commonwealth Games and five until the Olympic Games. For the first four years, I had no funding and no sponsorship. I did however, have a coach that I eventually learnt to listen to and trust, a loving family always willing to go the extra mile for me and a wide range of sporting specialists to help me along my way, often at great expense to themselves.
I began writing this book in February 2015. I had never received as much as a free pair of shoes and was not well-known throughout even the athletics world. However, it was my belief that one day I might produce something special through my running that spurred me on to write this book. I hope you find the following pages inspiring, interesting and worth the invested time. This life is undoubtedly much shorter than everyone would possibly want, so make of it what you can. It is never too late to pursue an old dream or too early to start living a new one.
Good luck and hopefully I will see you someday on the startline,