Matt McLaughlin is one of Britains top prospects, competing in the 800 and 1500 meter events. A Student with Oxford College, we asked Matt about some of the challenges he faces and how he keeps up to date with his studies.
Hi Matt, please tell us a little about yourself.
I'm an 18 year old junior athlete from the UK, currently ranked at number 1 in Europe over the 1500m for 2013 (3:42.87) which is also a British all time junior record. I also run the 800m (1:48). I run for Woodford Green, Essex and train at Lee Valley, North London.
How did you initially get into your sport?
I got into the sport via my school Mill Hill County, in Edgeware. My P.E teacher, Mr. Randall, put me forward to run a 200m at a local schools race, while there, a coach spotted me and said I should come down. I initially started training with a sprints group once or twice a week which was more of a social thing. Later, I was put forward by the club to run an 800m which I thought would be a bit of fun, I then won the race fairly easily. I decided I wanted to take things seriously as I was winning races off of very little training, so moved to my coach Ayo Falola who has brought me all the success so far, with my hard work also.
What are your plans for the next year/season?
My plans for next year are to run a low 1:46 for the 800m and under 3:40 for the 1500. The Olympic qualifying standard is 1:45 for the 800m so edging slowly towards that will be great.
Describe a typical day for our readers.
A typical day for me would be an 8am wake up, down to Lee Valley for 10, finish the session by around 12 and come home for lunch. I'd then have a nap and get back out the door for a run from my house in the afternoon. Every day varies but this is usually the regimen, with some easy and hard days and runs.
How do you deal with the challenges of keeping up to date with your studies and your training schedule?
Keeping up with studies can be tough, I was lucky enough to leave school at 16 and train full time with the support of my parents and coach. I'm very lucky to be starting a course from home now and feel like I'm achieving an academic background with my athletics in-between training sessions which I'm hoping I'll be able to complete with a full honours degree in a few years.
What advice do you have for students who want to pursue a career in sports?
My advice for students who want to persue a career in sports is to study from home, as it eliminates time spent travelling to and from school or college and enables you to do the training you need to succeed.
Thanks to Matt for the interview! If you have any questions for Matt, let us know and we'll include it next time.Image Credit - Sunset Runner