We unveiled Team TrainAsONE a few weeks ago but now we want to tell you a bit more about each of them. Over the coming weeks we’re going to be bringing you interviews with all of the team members, finding out what makes them tick as runners and what goals they are using TrainAsONE to work towards.
First up is Mike Christoforou, a really exciting up-and-coming young athlete who loves a bit of track-inflicted pain.
Mike was always destined to be a runner, being one of those kids who are impossible to tire out. “I always had energy to burn as a kid and definitely needed something to occupy me! Once my Mum decided I was too old for her to be walking me into school, I would run the half-mile commute instead (with my rucksack on my back!) to meet up with mates and play football every morning.” So from an early age Mike had a pretty Kenyan attitude to training. This boded well.
Despite this early commitment, Mike didn’t really start to take athletics seriously until he was 16 and experienced the magic of the track for the first time. “My Dad took me down to Lea Valley Athletics Centre, which had just been opened that year. I remember doing some 150 metre reps in that first session and being way off the back of the group, but I loved it and knew instantly that I wanted to go back the next week. Since then I’ve been fortunate enough to stay injury free and improve each season.”
Mike now lives in Edinburgh, a pretty awesome city for running, which helps him to keep his training fresh and varied. “I’ll be on the track a lot more in the summer and winter will involve more road, grass and hill sessions; Holyrood Park is great for these.
An average week involves sessions on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with steady running on the other days and a long run on Sunday. I had a bash at Pilates last winter which kept me limber and reduced niggles, so I’ll definitely pick that back up.”
Like most of us, Mike has to balance his running with a busy day job. In fact, the events company he works for just delivered the Queensferry Crossing Experience (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-41126485). They also deliver the Edinburgh Marathon Festival (it’s the biggest event they work on) so Mike gets to geek out about running 24 hours a day and his employers are supportive of their staff’s running. “I’m lucky to have a great supportive bunch of work colleagues. We’ve got a canal right by the office which is great for a cheeky lunch run. Flexible work hours are also really helpful and conducive to training.”
Mike’s had some great success at the 5k distance (he achieved his PB of 14.25 this year at a BMC Grand Prix meet) and he added the 10k on the track to his repertoire in 2017, achieving an impressive 29.37 at the British Championships at the Highgate Harriers Night of the 10,000m PBs. He plans to keep focussing on these distances for the foreseeable future. He says “I feel I’ve still got plenty of room to improve at these distances, especially as 2017 was my first season having a proper go at the 10,000m on the track. I’m also planning to do a few more half marathons in the next year or so.”
Longer term, his dream would be to represent his country: “I would love to represent Great Britain one day – that’s the ultimate honour. There’s still a heap of work to be done but I’m on the way. You need to be regularly mixing it with the best guys in the country and once that happens, your mentality changes and bigger things become possible.” But for now “I just want to keep progressing. This obviously becomes harder the faster you get, but as long as I’m enjoying my running and improving each year I’ll be happy.”
And Team TrainAsONE hopes to help Mike do just that. He applied because he saw it as ”a great chance to join a supportive network of similarly dedicated runners. I love how diverse the team is and can’t wait to meet everyone in Chamonix next month – I’m sure we’ll all be able to impart some useful knowledge. I’m buzzing to get my TAO kit as well!”
[These last few weeks Mike has been 4th at the Scottish 5000m champs and 7th at the Scottish 10 road Champs on a bad day at the office. We hope that working together we can get Mike a Scottish distance running medal in 2018 – Robbie]
Article written by Kirsty Reade